Says he's more of a leader than Trump or Rubio
By Max Sullivan
Hampton Union, January 22, 2016
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush held a town hall at Hampton Academy on Thursday. [Ioanna Raptis photo]
HAMPTON — Asked about a perceived nemesis on the campaign trail Thursday night, presidential candidate Jeb Bush actually said something positive about one of his biggest critics – Donald Trump.
Bush was asked during a town hall meeting in the Hampton Academy cafeteria if Trump’s barrage of criticism this year had made him a stronger candidate. Trump has frequently targeted Bush in debates, speeches and tweets.
Bush’s initial response was a firm “no.”
“No, Donald Trump disparaging me has not made me a better candidate,” Bush said. “He hasn’t really helped me in that regard.”
But Bush followed that answer by giving Trump credit on two points. For one, Bush said he appreciated that Trump is far from politically correct, even if he believes Trump can go overboard at times.
“I hate the insults to the disabled, to women… all of that is just ridiculous, and it’s ugly,” Bush said. “But I like the fact he’s liberated. He doesn’t feel constrained by all the political correctness that exists in Washington… He gets credit for saying things people would like to say.”
Bush also said Trump should get credit for having no shame about his success, even if he can be brash at times.
“His success is not something he’s ashamed of,” Bush said. “The fact is, it’s okay to be successful. How are you going to create more successful people if you don’t have that success? That’s important.”
Bush still took jabs at Trump during his talk with approximately 250 supporters. When listing qualities missing from other candidates in the race, he touched on arrogance and mocked Trump by saying, “Don’t worry, it will be huge, it will be fantastic.”
Bush said he still believes he can succeed in Feb. 9’s New Hampshire primary, saying recent polls show he’s regaining ground.
Currently, Bush averages 8.3 percent support from New Hampshire voters according to the website Real Clear Politics, trailing Trump, John Kasich, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Chris Christie trails behind him with an average 7.8 percent. Nationally, he averages 4.8 percent support.
“I’m moving up in the polls. You know why? Because I’m working my you-know-what off,” Bush said.
Bush also compared himself to Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida. Bush called Rubio a friend and another “great candidate,” but he said he has far more support than Rubio from those who have worked closely with both in the Sunshine State.
“If you ask people in Florida who work with both of us who they’re supporting, it’s 80-20 (percent), 90-10,” Bush said. “There’s a reason for that. It’s not that Marco is a bad person at all… it’s that I can lead. I’ve done it. I’ve taken on really difficult challenges.”
In the Florida polls, Bush trails Rubio on average by almost 3 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. St. Pete Polls has him trailing Rubio by 8 percent.