Paul Steinhauser: Bush tells NH1 best way to campaign is in 'retail fashion'
BEDFORD - Jeb Bush says he plans to campaign the New Hampshire way.
In an interview Friday with NH1, Bush said "I'm going to be here and I'm going to campaign in a way that shows my heart where I can advocate ideas that will help people be successful in their lives and the best way to do that is in the retail fashion."
The former Florida governor, who's moving closer and closer to launching a Republican presidential campaign, spoke on-one-one with NH1 a couple of hours after arriving for his first visit to the Granite State in 15 years.
As he arrived at his first stop, a business roundtable at Integra, a Hudson based high tech firm, Bush was greeted by dozens of members of the national political press corps, as well as New Hampshire political reporters. It was a media circus as Bush made his way through the facility, talking with employees.
Bush faced a similar media scrum during a trip to Iowa last week. Asked if he's ready another year and a half of this if he decides to run for the White House, as expected, Bush told NH1 "sure, treat people respectfully. Stay firm on your beliefs. Challenge them when they may not get it quite right. But have a good dialogue with the press. These people are doing their job."
"I really like the camera guys more," added Bush, playfully joking with this reporter.
Bush's visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state includes only two stops open to press, the Integra visit and a jam-packed house party he attended later on Friday evening at the Dover home of former NHGOP chairman Fergus Cullen. Bush made a couple of closed door stops, including a Friday evening fundraiser for GOP Rep. Frank Guinta, and a scheduled Saturday fundraiser for Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Bush's Friday and Saturday visit comes on the same two days that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's also making his first trip to New Hampshire this cycle. Both men top the most recent GOP presidential primary polls (including an NH1 News poll) in the Granite State.
Walker's only doing one open event while he's in New Hampshire. There's been voices of disappointment by some GOP activists that Bush and Walker didn't schedule more events open to regular voters.
Asked about that, Bush said that "hopefully the national press will subside a little bit and I can have more direct interaction with people."
Bush defends immigration stance
Earlier in the day at the roundtable with business leaders in Hudson, Bush defended his views on illegal immigration. His support for a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate in 2013 but died in the House is a sore point with many conservatives.
"The position I have. The view that I have. The one that I expressed and continue to express is the one that a path to legal status is one that is more than enough to allow people to come out from behind the shadows. And that's what they want. They want to come out from behind the shadows to be able to work. To get a work permit. There's broad support for that and if we get that done, our country would grow economically far stronger that it is now," Bush told reporters.
Many on the right also are troubled by Bush's support of the federal government's Common Core educational standards.
Asked about his support, Bush said "yep, I'm all in."
"The effort was a good one and I support that effort," Bush added.