Jeb Bush made it clear in a visit to Carson City on Friday he doesn’t think anti-immigrant rhetoric being pushed by Donald Trump is going to put a Republican in the White House next year.
“We had better stop having our angrier voices be the ones people hear,” he told a town hall meeting of about 300 people at Silver State Charter School.
Without mentioning Trump by name, he attacked the people he said are “preying on people’s fear and anger.”
He said his campaign will be inclusive not divisive, that he will campaign in Hispanic neighborhoods, college campuses and black churches, as well as the usual venues that draw Republican candidates.
Bush said he wants to see an America that’s economically revitalized for all segments of society, not just “those who have made it.”
“I want to win,” he said. “I don’t want to just make a point and the way to win is to draw people towards you.”
Bush said that means drawing voters who — particularly the young — who probably voted for Democrats before because they don’t realize the Republicans are where they should be.
He said for the disenchanted voters who backed President Obama he has a question: “How’s that faded Obama poster looking while you’re sitting in your parents’ basement unemployed.”
He called for a path to citizenship for immigrants but using technology and other resources to make sure those arrive here on visas leave once those visas expire. He said there should be changes to who can come to the U.S. legally but deporting 11 million illegal immigrants isn’t practical.
“How about allowing people to have provisional work permits, to work, pay taxes and they might pay a fine.”
He said they wouldn’t “cut to the front of the line” but could earn legal status.
Bush decried what he said is the loss of America’s standing as world leader and the world’s policeman. He said as the U.S. pulls back, terrorists move to fill the void.
“Then we begin negotiating with our enemies and our friends wonder where we are,” he said. “That’s not how you change the world. American leadership is how we change the world.”
He said he has a major concern about Obama’s announced Iran deal and “I would not have negotiated with Iran.” Bush said from what he has seen that deal does nothing to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, import conventional weapons and continue expanding its military presence in the Mid East and that, “we got nothing in return.”
“I’m deeply worried about this agreement,” he said.
He said in remaking the federal government, he would take an approach similar to what he did in two terms as Florida governor. He said that included lower taxes, reforming education and reducing the size of that state’s government significantly. The result, he said, was he grew Florida’s $1 billion reserves to $9 billion.
To that end, he said a complete change in how regulations are developed is needed, including appointing federal officials who have subject matter expertise instead of “political hacks and academics.”
“Whenever possible, we should delegate authority back to the states,” he said. “We need to restore constitutional respect for how we regulate in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Bush said too often the federal government focuses on immediate needs instead of long term and inspirational goals that deal with major problems. Those big programs and ideas, he said, “get crowded out by spending that is in the here and now.”
He cited the Space program as an example of large, inspirational programs that have been gutted in recent years.
To fix the nation’s $18 trillion debt, he said major structural reforms are needed, especially to Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and other entitlement programs.
Without reform, he said those programs will eventually hit the nation with some $50 trillion in added obligations the nation can’t afford.
He said to help the president make the necessary changes to reduce the federal government and improve its performance he would like to see a limited line-item veto and a balanced budget amendment.
Bush said he wants to run a campaign that emphasizes the positives, not attacks on his opponents. He said his goal is to fix problems.
“I’m for fixing things I think we can fix to make life better for all people,” he said.