WASHINGTON -- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) weighed in on the state of American politics on Tuesday, lamenting that politicians are far too reluctant to engage with the public and the press on the issues of the day.
"People want to have people speak their minds, say what they believe, have a dialogue, have an interaction, interact with the press, not get into some protective bubble and never come out," Bush told reporters in Greenville, South Carolina.
The likely 2016 GOP presidential contender did not mention Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) by name, but he may as well have been referring to his likely rivals in the race for the White House. Walker and Clinton have both faced criticism for being too insular, and Bush has been working to play up that contrast as he continues to make moves toward a presidential bid.
In New Hampshire this past weekend, Bush gave the media a bear hug by taking questions from reporters at several events. He also sat with business leaders and residents in Hudson, fielding questions for hours. The strategy plays to Bush's strengths as a candidate -- his familiarity with a wide array of policy and his comfort with an open, question-and-answer format.
The question yet to be answered, however, is whether he can gain traction among Republican primary voters who remain opposed to issues where Bush is very much an outlier among other GOP candidates -- immigration and the Common Core education standards. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Monday found that 49 percent of Republican voters could see themselves voting for Bush -- down from 63 percent in December.
Watch Bush's remarks above.
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