Jeb Bush returns to GOP dinner circuit: ‘Elvis was in the building tonight’by George Bennett | May 8th, 2010
Former Gov. Jeb Bush returned to the Republican dinner circuit Friday night, keynoting a Pasco County GOP dinner and making his first joint campaign appearance with Senate hopeful Marco Rubio.
Bush clearly had star power among the 600 or more partisans who attended. One audience member drew applause when he shouted that Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, should make his own run for the White House.
“Elvis was in the house tonight, wasn’t he?” Republican Party of Florida Chairman John Thrasher said afterward.
Here’s a story about the event.
And some expanded Bush excerpts are after the jump….
On Marco Rubio:
At a time when we need to renew our commitments to the old-fashioned principles of limited government and entrepreneurial capitalism and self-government… it’s nice to see a young man who is passionate about these foundational beliefs. Marco Rubio speaks better than anybody I’ve ever met about these things. And he has fired up so many people to get involved, and I’m proud to know you, my man. Go get ‘em.”
On John Thrasher, who took over as state GOP chairman after Gov. Charlie Crist’s hand-picked chairman, Jim Greer, stepped down:
To come back and take over that position of responsibility, John, I cannot tell you how thankful all right-minded, thinking Republicans are for your leadership. I appreciate my friendship with you, more importantly, for a guy to do this with all the things he’s got going on, to clean up the mess, the sordid mess of the state Republican Party, which was a huge embarrassment for anybody that has been involved in our party, to see what was going on before, then to have a man of integrity like John Thrasher step in, it warms my heart.
On President Obama:
There was something aspirational about it (Obama’s 2008 victory) given his background and he won, I believe, because people thought he was going to be a different kind of candidate that would bring people together, which is so important at a time when you have these huge challenges.
And immediately, my hopes were shattered…with this avalanche of expansion of governemnt, of increased taxation, of increased spending on top of increased spending and increased regulation and believing, because of the people around him, and because he believes it in his heart, that government can solve problems better than we can solve problems ourselves. And it’s deeply disturbing to so many people because it will redefine who we are as a nation.
His characterization of Obama’s philosophy and the GOP alternative:
Barack Obama believes that if you redistribute wealth and you expand government that you can provide security for people and that’s their first need…Republicans and conservatives need to take a hopeful, optimistic approach which says if you limit government’s power that you’ll create more opportunities and more prosperity….
…The president has an economic policy that’s different than ours and we must be respectful of that. But that policy basically says, ‘I’ll give you security, I’ll tax everybody that is producing and dreaming and investing and saving. I’ll tax the people that create the dynamism of our economy to give you greater security. I’ll redistribute the wealth because that’s the fair thing to do to be able to take care of people in these anxious times.’
And it is a powerful message. People thinking about the here and now occasionally will embrace that kind of attitude….This philosophy…puts a lid on the aspirations of the greatness of our country. In return for the false security that they offer, we put a lid on people’s hopes and dreams….We might grow, but we won’t grow robustly, and the problems that we have in these entitlement programs and the other challenges that we face will overrun us.
On entrepreneurial capitalism:
I believe in entrepreneurial capitalism…I am so sick and tired of people with big podiums and TelePrompters looking down on the American people and casting aspersions on the people that risk their capital to pursue their dreams to create jobs and prosperity. The demonization of capitalism has got to stop if we’re going to solve the problems of our nation.