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Jeb Bush rejects idea of governors not ready to lead from ‘Day One’

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Jeb Bush doesn’t think much of Marco Rubio‘s contention that a governor elected president isn’t ready to manage U.S. foreign policy on their first day on the job.

“Let me think. Ronald Reagan?” Bush responded when asked about Rubio’s remark by National Review editor Rich Lowry on Thursday afternoon in Washington. “I don’t know what else I have to say.”

Rubio made the comments last weekend while speaking to the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. “Governors can certainly read about foreign policy, and take briefings and meet with experts, but there is no way they’ll be ready on Day One to manage U.S. foreign policy,” was Rubio’s remark, which has also been dismissed by another top-tier presidential contender, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Bush took a shot a couple of times during his interview with Lowry, which came before a live audience and was web streamed on the conservative publication’s website.

“Governors actually make decisions,” Bush continued, warming up to what clearly he thought was a ridiculous statement made by his longtime ally.

“They have to say no to people. They have to speak in English — it’s a novel language, once you leave Washington, you might actually hear it a little bit. They can’t hide behind their collective skirt and say, ‘well I passed an amendment about this and the CBO did blah-blah-blah-blah.’ They actually have to lead. They have to make decisions. They have to convince. They actually have to compromise from time to time,  and those skills apply directly to the presidency, and there’s enough examples of governors who have been extraordinary leaders in foreign policy, starting with Ronald Reagan.”

Earlier in the interview, Bush took another shot at the Senate when talking about immigration reform, saying, “I’m not a United States senator, thank God. Just for the record here, I live in Miami here. I’m outside of Washington.”

Although Rubio and Bush have insisted that they are good friends and will never attack each other during the primary, the fact that they are considered direct challengers to the GOP presidential nomination will severely test that friendship in the months to come. Rubio has been extremely assertive on foreign affairs in his four-plus years in the Senate and considers himself well versed on the subject, certainly more than any governor in the race, including Bush.

Consider Bush’s comments a not-so-veiled rebuke to the Senate, and those who are in that body (Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul) who might consider their credentials more significant than his record in Florida.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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