Jeb Bush: Obama’s Bid for Latinos ‘Incredibly Cynical'

Sunday, 28 Oct 2012 04:44 PM

By David A. Patten and Kathleen Walter

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Former Florida GOP Gov. Jeb Bush has never shied away from criticizing his own party for using harsh rhetoric on immigration, but on Friday it was President Obama he slammed for being “incredibly cynical” on the issue. Bush charged the president allowed the immigration impasse to fester in order to take advantage of it politically.

Speaking in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview, Bush indicated that Obama intentionally kept the immigration issue alive, even when he enjoyed supermajorities in both chambers of Congress, because it served his interests politically.

Story continues below.

“The president is happy to use this as a political club,” he said, adding: “He had 60 votes in the Senate, he had a majority in the House, [and] he did not submit a bill on immigration reform. [He was] much happier to have this fight continue to play.”

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In a Des Moines Register interview that was initially off the record, but that was later released with the Obama campaign’s permission, the president remarked: “Since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”

Given the president’s broken pledge to reform immigration, Bush said, his statement in the Rolling Stone interview represented “an expression of incredible cynicism, and it is political cynicism at its worst.”

Bush enjoyed strong Latino support during his two terms at the helm of the Sunshine State. He remains the only Republican to ever win re-election as Florida’s governor.

Bush told Newsmax he believes U.S. immigration policies should be tailored to bolster economic growth.

“We can’t deal with the opportunities of increasing opportunities to allow highly skilled workers to stay here. People give up hope and go back instead of creating businesses here, as they once did,” said Florida’s 43rd governor. “They’re now going back to their former countries where they’re investing in their dreams and creating prosperity there.

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“This is just maddening,” he added. “It’s just crazy. So I’ve been critical of my own party, but the president is to blame for the tenor of the immigration debate right now.”

See other exclusive excerpts from the Newsmax interview with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush:

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