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Jeb Bush Offers Rare Criticism of His Brother -- On Spending

"I don’t feel compelled to go out of my way to criticize Republican presidents," he said.
Image: Jeb Bush
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, reaches to shake hands at a house party Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Bedford, N.H. Bush is a likely Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)Jim Cole / AP

For the first time since pursuing a possible presidential run, Jeb Bush on Thursday laid out an area of policy disagreement with his brother, former President George W. Bush.

"Are there differences? Yeah sure, I think that [in] Washington, during my brother’s time, Republicans spent too much money," he said during an event in New Hampshire. "I think he could have used the veto power."

"That seems kind of quaint right now, given the fact that after he left, budget deficits and spending have gone up astronomically," he added. "But having constraints on spending across the board during his time would have been a good thing."

The complaint, shared by many conservative Republicans, comes after Bush struggled to respond to questions about whether he agreed with his brother's foreign policy decisions on Iraq.

Bush said Thursday that he is reluctant to criticize any former presidents from his own party, not just members of his own family.

"I don’t feel compelled to go out of my way to criticize Republican presidents," he said."Just call me a team player here. It just so happens the last two Republican presidents happen to be my brother and my dad, but you won’t hear me complain about Ronald Reagan either."

- Carrie Dann