TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he believes that the willingness to compromise that allowed Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan to succeed no longer exists in Washington. He faults both parties for the problem.
"My father and President Reagan were successful because they were willing to put policy solutions above political wins. They recognized the president has a significant influence and ability to drive the agenda and used that to find common ground," Bush said in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"Washington today is hyper-partisan with people speaking off political talking points rather than working together to find common ground to address the issues our country faces," Bush said.
Bush's comments came a day after several news organizations reported that his father and Reagan would have a hard time winning the presidential nomination in today's Republican Party. Earlier Tuesday, Bush used Twitter to say his remarks were taken out of context. He told the AP that he was talking about partisanship in Congress as a whole.
"Both parties are at fault. Rep. Paul Ryan is one of the few who has shown courage. He proposed a well thought-out budget as a starting place for real discussions," Bush told the AP.
"What was he met with – incredible criticism from both parties. But, I hold Democrats more accountable because they control two of the three offices – president & Senate. Over the last four years, they have had multiple opportunities and have opted to take the politically expedient route over working together to find a policy solution."
Bush reiterated his view that the tone of the Republican Party often concerns him.
"I don't believe it's a party that doesn't allow for disagreement among members – but that is often what it sounds like," he said.
Bush also said the Republican Party needs to better express why its policies are better for the country.
"GOP candidates and leaders must communicate that clearly. How it is said – the tone – is important," he said.