CENTRAL — Former First Lady Barbara Bush said that the country is in great need, and Jeb Bush is the man who can take care of it. She said that the other men in the race are smart, but they do not have the background.
“Jeb has done the most amazing things as Governor,” Barbara Bush said during a rally held at D.W. Daniel High School where Jeb Bush promoted his campaign and asked voters to trust him with their vote Saturday.
“We are living in dangerous times and you cannot say crazy stuff. As president you cannot do crazy things, you have to have a steady hand, you have to have strength and fortitude. You have to be focused on people you are serving, it cannot be about you,” Jeb Bush said. “Do you want someone who intends to be a commander in chief that will lead our country forward, rather than divide us?”
Bush said he is running for president to heal the divide, not make it worse. He said there are candidates constantly pushing people down to make themselves look good. They are following the footsteps of Barack Obama, whom Bush says is a master of this.
“From day one, instead of taking advantage of the mandate he had, which there were no blue states, no red states, only United States of America, he did the exact opposite, pushed people away who did not agree with him and jammed down the throats of American people, without a single Republican vote — Obamacare, Dodd Frank, the Stimulus,” he said. “Then (he) called it quits in terms of working with Congress. He basically used executive powers from here on out, much of which the constitution does not give him.”
According to Bush, the country is more divided today than it has ever been. Bush said that Republican voters need to find a way to win this election to heal the divide and move forward as Americans.
“If we do not, living in a dangerous world, we will see a tax on our country,” Bush said.
It is Bush’s belief that the next president will see a series of challenges. This could be a pandemic, natural disaster or a terrorist attack.
“Question is when you all go to vote, who do you want to have sitting behind the big desk when that unforeseen event happens? Do you want someone who has never been tested? Do you want someone like President Obama, gifted in his oratorical skills, but not showing any ability in his past experiences to be able to make tough choices?” he asked. “Or do you want somebody who has a steady hand, who has a proven record to make tough decisions and lead our state and our country through. That is the Jeb case.”
Governor of Florida
During his time as governor of Florida, the state dealt with eight hurricanes and four tropical storms in 16 months. During that time, Bush reminded those at the rally that no one heard him saying the dog ate his homework, that it was FEMA’s fault and did not hear him say it was climate change.
“We developed a strategy, brought in thousands and thousands of people, all of us got together in a unified effort to rebuild our state at warp speed,” Bush said. “We want someone totally focused on rebuilding and recovering. You never heard people complain about the response in Florida.”
When Bush got to Tallahassee, he said he was able to disrupt the order and turn Tallahassee upside down for the betterment of the 18 million residents in the state.
“In Florida we balanced the budget eight years in a row, and ended with a $9 billion reserve,” he said. “Imagine this, a general revenue fund where we had 40 percent of reserves to match that fund. No state came close to that. We need that in Washington, D.C. We need a balanced budget amendment where we force Washington to live within our means.”
As president, Bush said he wants to fix the culture in Washington, similar to the way he did in Florida.
“Our country has been in existence 240 years. Watch what has happened in the past 10 years. You would think how could we have gotten to where we got, because now even when people agree they do not agree, but that does not have to be the norm,” Bush said. “With proper leadership we can restore our democracy in Washington, we can disrupt culture in D.C., when we do, better things will happen for our country.”
Department of Veterans Affairs
As president, Bush said he would start with the Department of Veterans Affairs, a department he says has 340,000 employees.
“Wow, a little big bigger than this town I think,” Bush joked.
He said there is massive bureaucracy on top of medical professionals who do their best to take care of veterans. Add to that dedicated workers trying to work in a system that traps veterans where they are not given the care they deserve.
“We need to give veterans a choice card to go to a private provider, a private clinic, go to a hospital in their town rather than languish on a waiting list,” Bush said. “We have to improve the quality of care inside the department, then give people choices to go outside, then everybody will get a better deal.”
Last year the department’s management got $140 million in bonuses for performance of a job well done. He said this job performance included lowering waiting lists for veterans that had been on the lists for years.
“Veterans did not get care, many died. Only three people were fired because of that scandal,” Bush said. “As president of the Untied States, I promise you, heads will roll. We will fire people and get this right so veterans will get they care they deserve.”