Former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber has joined Jeb Bush’s team as the former Florida governor takes a step closer to announcing he will be a presidential contender in 2016.
Weber confirmed he was assisting Bush after GOP officials had claimed that Weber was working "behind the scenes" to help Bush win over major donors and conservative leaders, according to The Washington Post
"My message to conservatives has been: this is the conservative Bush," said Weber, a top policy adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and a political supporter in Congress of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"I remember when his brother first ran, and he was a fine president. But at the time, most conservatives around the country said it’s too bad because Jeb is the real conservative in the family. I’m reminding my friends about those conversations."
In recent weeks, Weber has been having informal talks with dubious conservatives trying to convince them of Bush’s record as governor, which included "educational choice and taxes and spending."
The aim of these meetings is to show that Bush, who supports immigration reform, is not a political moderate, an impression that is likely to hurt his chances of winning over the right and becoming the next president.
"The idea that he should somehow now be branded as a moderate Republican, that’s just not true, that’s not who he’s been," Weber said.
Weber, who served in Congress from 1981 to 1993 and is currently a partner at Mercury, a Washington-based consulting firm, told the Post that the scope of his role with the Bush camp is widespread, saying, "I’m willing to do whatever they need me to do."
Weber also revealed that he had made the "tough" decision to help Bush even though "there are a lot of potential Republican candidates who I know and respect," including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
But Weber added that Bush’s "optimistic vision" gives Republicans their best chance of taking back the White House.
"I don’t hear anyone else with Bush’s level of clarity on what Republicans can do to shape the future," he told the Post. "I and others are not looking only for the most articulate opponent of President Obama."
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