Jeb Bush: Obama won reelection by ‘dividing the country’

March 10, 2013

President Obama won a second term in the White House in part by "dividing the country," former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) said in an interview that aired on Sunday morning.

"I think the basic part of his campaign was that those that were successful weren't paying their fair share, even though we have incredibly high taxes for high income Americans," Bush said on CBS News' "Face The Nation." "I think he ran a campaign of them and us. And it was quite effective, that somehow the Republicans don't care about the large number of people."

Bush said in order to win future elections, Republicans have to offer a "compelling alternative" to that narrative, which he said was untrue. The former governor said he sees such an alternative view taking shape.

Bush's appearance on "Face The Nation" was part of a Sunday show blitz. The former governor, who is promoting a new book on immigration, appeared on five Sunday news programs.

His position on whether to allow a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants has come under scrutiny with the book's rollout. In an interview last week, Bush appeared to back off his previous support for such a path, only to later say he could support one under the right circumstances. On "Face The Nation," Bush said he wasn't ruling out a conditional path to citizenship.

"I support a path to legalization or citizenship so long as the path for people that have been waiting patiently is easier and costs less -- the legal entrance to our country -- than illegal entrance," he said.

Widely viewed as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, Bush said Sunday that he isn't thinking about the next election yet, with the 2012 election barely in the rearview mirror.

"We just had an election, four years is a long way from now, and I think it’s better to stay focused on the things that I'm doing now," Bush said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · March 8, 2013