Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush remained defiant in his contrasts with Donald Trump during an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd for "Meet the Press."
“He has no proven leadership skills in the public domain,” he said of the Republican frontrunner. “So my path is to say I do.”
Bush focused his attack further on Trump’s conservative bona-fides and insisted he’s the only person willing to go after Trump on those issues, saying simply, “He’s not a conservative.” “I'm gonna continue to be critical of him when he doesn't advocate conservative principles,” Bush said. “He's running for the conservative party's nomination. He should be a conservative, and he hasn't shown it.”
The former Florida governor acknowledged Trump’s ability to “entertain” but said his ideas won’t help people and questioned Trump’s ability to bring people together.
“The big guy comes in and-- and offers the moon and the stars, and-- people are-- are latched onto that,” he said. “But the reality is that he's not offering anything to lift people up.”
For his own candidacy, Bush said he believes in being a “president that begins to solve problems” like he said he did as governor, although polls have yet to show that message effectively catching on with voters.
“I'm in this for the right reason, and I'm excited about the progress we're making when I get to explain it to people that seem to be really interested,” he said. The former Florida governor insisted his campaign will have the resources to “go the distance.”
“I'm gonna win this nomination. That's my focus,” he said while maintaining he’ll support whoever the nominee is – even if it’s Trump. “Anybody’d be better than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.”
On his latest swing through New Hampshire, where the issue of drugs has become a major campaign topic, the former governor has taken to sharing his family’s own very personal experience with addiction.
“Over time Columba and I have realized that this is an important story to tell,” he said of sharing his daughter’s addiction story during the campaign. “I don't wanna throw her out there as part of the crazy political world. But she has a story to tell, and it's one of courage and sticking with things, and I love her dearly.”
The Bush campaign is even featuring the story in a new television ad airing in New Hampshire. It's the only state where the campaign is dedicating advertising money after pulling out of buys in states like Iowa and South Carolina last month.
“This is one of the soft underbellies of our country,” he said. "Addiction is a huge problem. And talking about it in a way that gives people a sense that it shouldn't be a stigma, I think is important.”