Former Florida governor and current Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks during a town hall meeting on Aug. 17  in Columbia, S.C. (Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

This story has been updated.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — "Do we have to talk about this guy?"

That's how Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush responded as a supporter began asking him about businessman Donald Trump.

But a few moments later, Bush unloaded.

A man wanted to know whether Bush would critique Trump's border security plan, which includes calls to build a tall wall and pay for it by seizing remittance payments from undocumented Mexican immigrants.

"It is not feasible to build a wall as the sole solution," he said. "It's a simple thing to say and I'm sure it's great for our friends in the press — to just simplify the thing down to that. But it’s not practical and it’s not conservative. It’s not conservative."

But a man seated behind Bush didn't like the answer and began shouting about China. Trump has said that the United States can build a border wall because China built its Great Wall.

Bush snapped: "Oh yeah, 600 years ago. I'm telling you what they say on the border, not in Pensacola, because we don't have a border problem here. I'm talking about the people on the ground."

The man persisted, asking Bush to explain his plan.

"I'm going to give it to you right now man, you ready?" Bush said. "You listening?"

Under his plan, Bush would deploy U.S. Border Patrol closer to the border, use drones and GPS tracking to identify potential illegal entry points, and punish cities that refuse to arrest undocumented immigrants sought by federal agencies.

"I'm running for the presidency in the conservative party. Which means I don't think we should spend hundreds of billions of dollars with an impractical solution," he added.

Volume and energy rising, Bush continued: "This guy is now the front-runner. He should be held to account just like me. He should be asked — as he was yesterday — how are you going to pay for it? Why do you think this is not going to be — prove to me that it's not impractical. Explain to me how you're going to stop all the remittances without violating peoples' civil liberty. Go through these questions and what you'll find is that this guy doesn't have a plan. He's appealing to peoples' angst and their anger. I want to solve problems so that we can fix this and turn immigration into what it's always been: An economic driver for our country."

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush looks over flood damage caused by Hurricane Irene in southwest Miami on Oct. 16, 1999, during a helicopter tour of the area. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bush visited McAllen, Tex., on Monday to meet with local officials about immigration and border security. He faced more questions about his recent comments about "anchor babies" during a campaign stop in Colorado on Tuesday.

Here on Wednesday, Bush touted his stewardship of the Sunshine State during two deadly hurricane seasons — in a corner of Florida that strongly supported his 1998 and 2002 gubernatorial campaigns.

"I have really fond memories of this place," he said in an events room at a downtown convention center that once served as a mass hurricane shelter.

More than 400 locals attended — a far cry from the tens of thousands who saw Trump last week in Mobile, Ala., about an hour away. The crowd cheered Bush's recap of his hurricane record, but perked up especially at any subtle or direct reference to his main challenger.

The Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump took his message to Dubuque, Iowa, Aug. 25. His agenda included attacking Jeb Bush on the term "anchor baby," the war in Iraq and division within the U.S. (AP)

[One Bush gets praise for his handling of hurricanes — including Katrina]

On leadership, Bush said: "It’s not about yapping, it’s not about talking, it’s about doing. It’s about creating strategies. ... I know how to do this because I was privileged to serve with many of you in Florida."

About his competitors, he suggested: "There are some people running, they're really talented about filling space. About saying big things. They think that volume in their language is a, some kind of a version of leadership. Talking is not leadership. Doing is leadership. That's what we need."

[With new e-book, Jeb Bush plans to tout his Florida record]

And about his governorship: "I’ve learned a little bit about leadership through trial and error. ... You learn these thing if you’re all-in. ... You don’t talk about these things on the sidelines. We need leadership in Washington, D.C. High-energy leadership."

In interviews and on the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly faulted Bush for being a "low-energy" candidate.

Clearly, Bush has heard him.


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