At event in Manchester, Jeb Bush focuses on reform

Last modified: 7/24/2015 12:22:07 AM
Jeb Bush was in Southern New Hampshire on Wednesday night, but he was thinking about the northern part of the state – particularly, the mountains.

Bush, the former governor of Florida, mentioned Mount Washington as he discussed federal government reform during an hourlong event in Manchester.

But the Republican presidential candidate wasn’t planning a hike. Rather, he was using the state’s tallest mountain as a symbol of government.

“If you look at every aspect of Mount Washington – I used to call Tallahassee ‘Mount Tallahassee’ to kind of describe it being removed from the state and the people that it served,” he said, referencing Florida’s capital. “I think we need to reform our budget process, and I believe the next president, a Republican conservative president
. . . can do just that.”

Reform was the theme of the evening, as Bush was interviewed by Americans for Prosperity’s Mark Lucas during the organization’s Road to Reform event.

Bush discussed shrinking the government, returning power to states, his record during his eight years as governor, the Export-Import Bank, health care and other topics related to the federal government.

“On Mount Washington, to use this term, since it’s right up the road . . . they have a one-size-fits-all approach for everything,” he said. “There’s a whole slew of things that federal government used to not do that the states did using the 10th Amendment and delegating authority back to the states. 
. . . You could shrink the power of Washington, its ability to regulate and get a far better result.”

The live-streamed conversational interview on stage at the Radisson Hotel focused largely on reform and rarely strayed to direct mentions of the primary and Bush’s fellow Republican candidates – of which he joked there are about 75 – though he did challenge the Democratic front-runner to a debate.

“If you want to regulate the shared economy – regulate Uber, regulate Airbnb – it’s all to protect somebody else that doesn’t want competition. . . . Our team needs to be on the side not of the incumbents, we need to be on the side of the disrupters, and make sure that people have the chance to earn success along the way,” Bush said. “A dynamic America creates more opportunities for people to reach middle-class status and to stay there than the progressive agenda of top down. I’m willing to have that debate with Ms. (Hillary) Clinton and all of the people that surround her.”

Bush criticized President Obama during the discussion – critiquing the Affordable Care Act and saying that he would like to repeal and replace it – but did not call out by name the other Republican candidates, of which there are now 16.

And while the number of candidates is extensive, New Hampshire voters remain enthused.

Goffstown resident Claira Monier traveled to Manchester on Wednesday for a simple reason: “I want to hear what he has to say.”

“I want to make sure I hear from each (candidate),” she said after posing for a photograph with Bush before the start of the event. “I’m keeping an open mind so far.”

Monier hoped to hear about Social Security during the event – which Bush did not directly address – as she is concerned about it for her children and grandchildren.

Bush, who officially launched his campaign last month, seems to be enthused as well.

“The campaign is full of fun things if you keep your eyes open,” he said.



(Susan Doucet can be reached at 369-3309, sdoucet@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @susan_doucet.)


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