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May 21, 2015 11:06 AM

Bush tells NH1 News Paul wrong on Patriot Act; describes self as a 'normal guy'

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – Jeb Bush says going to the movies this holiday weekend.

The former Florida governor and all-but-certain Republican presidential candidate also tells NH1 News that Sen. Rand Paul is wrong about the Patriot Act and says he doesn’t believe in signing pledges, even those against tax increases.

In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News Thursday, Bush was asked about the Kentucky senator and declared GOP presidential candidate’s more than ten hour filibuster type speech on the floor of the Senate Wednesday night in opposition to National Security Agency surveillance programs authorized under the Patriot Act, including the collection of phone records of average Americans.

“I think he’s wrong in saying that this is unconstitutional or saying that people’s freedoms have been violated by the Patriot Act,” Bush said.

“I think we need to reauthorize the Patriot Act, and put aside who’s speaking where. The simple fact is that it’s been an effective tool to keep us free and to keep us from being attacked by Islamic terrorists. That’s the main focus,” Bush added. “If it could be updated, modified, fine. But it needs to be reauthorized.”

Bush was also asked about the Fox News announcement on Wednesday, with the blessing of the Republican National Committee, that only ten candidates will be included on stage at the first 2016 GOP presidential nomination debate on August 6. Fox News is hosting the debate, which will take place in Cleveland.

“If I run I’m going to work hard to get into that top tier for sure,” said Bush, who doesn’t have to worry, as he sits near or at the top of just about every public opinion poll in the race for the Republican nomination. “I’ll let others kind of set the rules. Hopefully everybody will have a chance to have their voice heard.”

Bush has refused to sign a no-tax-increase pledge put forth by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Asked about his opposition, Bush said “I just don’t believe in signing pledges.”

He then touted his record in Tallahassee, saying “I’ve cut taxes every year, $19 billion infact I would put my record up in terms of tax cuts against anybody considering running for president of the united states. The beauty of being governor of the state of Florida is I got to do things and I got to cut taxes, reduce the government size, did a lot of things in terms of reform. I’ll tell my story. I’m not going to sign a pledge.”

Bush never signed the pledge during his three campaigns for Florida governor, in 1994, 1998, and 2002.

His father, former President George H.W. Bush, was severely criticized for raising taxes while in the White House, after making a “no new taxes” pledge while running for president in 1988.

Bush spoke with NH1 News minutes before headlining a New Hampshire House Business Caucus and Concord Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, which attracted a bunch of state lawmakers and business leaders. It was his first event of his second day of a two-day swing through the Granite State. The visit is Bush’s third to the first-in-the-nation primary state this year, as he moves closer and closer to launching a GOP presidential campaign.


Read: Bush jabs at Obama and Clinton, defends family ties

Read: Renee Plummer gives Bush good grades

Watch: Bush back in New Hampshire

Bush: I’m a pretty normal guy

Bush is heading home to Florida for the Memorial Day weekend.

He told NH1 News that “I love being with my grandkids, I got four beautiful grandkids, two of which live in our same zip code that warms my heart. I like playing fast golf, I like reading a lot. I like being with my wife. I’m a pretty normal guy. I like going to movies, which I’m going to do this Memorial Day weekend. So I have a blessed life and I like hanging out with people where I learn as well, which is the good part of campaigning or pre-campaigning in New Hampshire.”

Asked what movie he’s going to see, Bush replied “I don’t know yet, I’m going to take my daughter. She’s going to decide which one we go to.”


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