Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), appearing on CBS' "This Morning" Thursday, said he hoped that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would accept a plan exchanging 10 dollars in spending cuts for 1 dollar in revenue.
Bush said he understood the Republican primary candidates' reticence to embrace tax increases at first, including Romney's, whom he endorsed after the race was no longer competitive.
"Look, I can appreciate why they are reluctant to say that, because commitments on spending are hard to implement. Commitments on raising taxes immediately happen," said Bush. "Just seems like historically you could have deep distrust that that's the case. So, I can understand the caution in that regard, but if you're asked a hypothetical question, which was --"
"And which they were," interrupted host Charlie Rose.
"And only you had the, as they say, courage to say, I wouldn't go there."
"It was living proof I'm not running for anything. I think more than anything else."
"If they hadn't been running they might have --"
"I hope so. Because we have unsustainable deficits."
"I haven't heard Governor Romney say, I take that position back. I'm prepared to raise taxes --"
Bush went on to clarify that he didn't support raising taxes but closing deductions, which many Republicans have accepted in principle but thus far have refused to do in practice. He also said that there has to be a grand bargain on deficits in the next few years; given the divided government, such an effort proved impossible in 2011.
Bush caused a minor stir recently when he said before a congressional panel that he would support raising 1 dollar of revenues in exchange for 10 dollars of spending cuts. All of the Republican presidential candidates rejected such a pledge in an August debate on Fox News. He also criticized Grover Norquist's anti-tax absolutism, saying, "I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people."
Bush, who hasn't been in office since 2007 and has flatly denied any interest in being Mitt Romney's vice president, hasn't been shy about criticizing his own party. He said he found some of the primary debate rhetoric "a little troubling." In addition, he has repeatedly criticized the party's sometimes harsh tone on immigration, where Bush himself made inroads with Latino voters as governor of Florida.
However, he hasn't shut the door on running for president in the future, and these criticisms show that he's willing to appeal to those beyond the Republican base.
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