(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is promoting his new book on immigration and was accused of opposing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, said Sunday he is in sync with Senate Republicans on the issue. He also spoke about a possible 2016 presidential run and Obama's re-election campaign.
Bush, a Republican and brother of former President George W. Bush, told ABC's "This Week" that he has reassured one of his critics, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is part of a bipartisan group working on an immigration reform proposal. "I told him that I support his efforts and I applaud what he's doing," Bush said, of his talk with Graham, a Republican and who favors a pathway to citizenship. "And he concluded, after he heard what the thesis of the book is, that we're in sync. We're on the same path."
The book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, authored by Bush and Clint Bolick, calls for a path to legalization, but not a path to citizenship, for current unauthorized immigrants.
The book argues that unauthorized immigrants who obtain legal status should go through the same process as other immigrants to obtain citizenship, which would mean applying for citizenship in their country of origin, according to The Huffington Post.
An advisor for the Mitt Romney campaign, who was not named, responded by asking, "Where the hell was this Jeb Bush during the campaign?" "He spent all this time criticizing Romney and it turns out he has basically the same position. So he wants people to go back to their country and apply for citizenship? …We got creamed for talking about that. And now Jeb is saying the same thing," the advisor told The Miami Herald.
Last week, Bush, a strong critic of his party's poor outreach to Latino voters, explained his stand on immigration reforms while speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "If you don't have a difference between a path to citizenship and a path to legalization, you're going to have a magnet going forward for more illegal immigration. ... So going forward ... if there is a difference, if you can craft that in law, where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn't an incentive for people to come illegally, I'm for it. I don't have a problem with that," he said.
On Sunday, Bush, who is thought by some to be a potential 2016 candidate, was interviewed by five news programs because of the new book he is promoting. But he was also asked questions on issues other than immigration.
Speaking to Fox News, Bush said it was too early for him to announce a candidacy for 2016. "Maybe it's better to make decisions in the proper context at the proper time," he said. "I don't think there's any Bush baggage at all," he added. "I love my brother, I'm proud of his accomplishments. I love my dad, and I'm proud to be a Bush. And if I run for president it's not because of something in my DNA that compels me to do it. It would be that it's the right thing to do for my family and that the conditions are right and I have something to offer."
Bush also criticized President Obama's re-election campaign, calling it divisive. "I think the basic part of his campaign was that those that were successful weren't paying their fair share, even though we have incredibly high taxes for high income Americans," Bush said on CBS News' "Face The Nation." "I think he ran a campaign of them and us. And it was quite effective, that somehow the Republicans don't care about the large number of people."
He said Republicans needed to present a "compelling alternative" to that theory.
Bush said on CNN's "State of the Union" that there was a "renewal of the conservative movement in the Republican Party," and wanted to be part of that "for sure."
"Whether it's the empathy gap or actually having a positive agenda, I would argue an opportunity-society ... agenda is what we need, something that's more aspirational – a real focus on transformation of our education system, a tax code that doesn't penalize aspiring small business owners, a regulatory system" to sustain small businesses, he said.