Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was chock-full of news on Monday.
At a public forum sponsored by Bloomberg View, the ex-governor criticized his own Republican Party as too partisan - too much so that his father, former President George H.W. Bush and former President Ronald Reagan would find it difficult to fit in.
He also criticized current GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's immigration stance as inadequate, adding that he would be unable to turn around the economy quickly, and even took aim at conservative stalwart Grover Norquist.
Bush, a moderate whose brother left the presidency less than four years ago and whose father left in 1992, also added that he has no immediate presidential ambitions and that he has ruled out any last-minute bid this year, such as at the GOP convention in Tampa.
But Bush levied his harshest criticism at Republicans who are unwilling to compromise.
"Ronald Reagan would have - based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, similar to my dad - they would have had a hard time if you define the Republican Party - and I don't - as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement,'' Bush said during the media question-and-answer session.
"Back to my dad's time or Ronald Reagan's time, they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support that right now would be difficult to imagine happening,'' he said.
As for Romney, Bush said the former Massachusetts governor - whom he has endorsed - should pick Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as his vice-presidential nominee, although Rubio has repeatedly ruled it out. Bush also cast aspersions on Romney's proposals about immigration.
"Don't just talk about Hispanics and say immediately we must have controlled borders,'' Bush said, whose wife Columba is Hispanic. "It's kind of insulting when you think about it. Change the tone would be the first thing. Second, on immigration, I think we need to have a broader approach.''
Bush also criticized President Obama, saying he has "failed" to care for the middle class and has likewise failed to show the kind of unified leadership that he proposed in his 2008 campaign.
But Bush's words about his own political party caught the most attention, in part because of his family's longstanding dominance in the GOP.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org