Steinhauser: Bush makes unannounced stop in New Hampshire
DOVER – Jeb Bush touted the ability of natural gas to lower carbon emissions, called for gradual social security reform, proposed a new strategy to battle ISIS, and criticized Martin O’Malley’s new proposal to offer debt-free college for Americans, at a last minute campaign stop Wednesday morning in Dover.
The former two-term Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate greeted staff and customers at Harvey’s Bakery in downtown Dover.
Before entering the well-known eatery, Bush was asked by NH1 News about O’Malley’s goal to give all students access to a debt-free college education at any in-state public college or university. The former two-term Maryland governor announced his proposal at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College around the same time Bush was arriving at Harvey’s.
Bush sounded skeptical about O’Malley’s plan, telling NH1 News “just wipe the 1.2 trillion dollars of debt without reforming our higher education system, more free stuff. I think the focus ought to be on how we reform higher education so that full time students can get a four year degree in four years and they’ll be able to access a job because we’ll have a higher growth economy than the one that he’s probably proposing.”
As he walked into Harvey’s a member of the staff commented to Bush “you’re tall. Your dad came to Harvey’s one time.”
“He was tall too,” Bush responded, talking about his father, former President George H.W. Bush.
Bush then shook hands with a retired veteran who said “I met your father when he was VP and president, and I met your brother when he was president.”
A few minutes later, two environmental activists sitting in a booth questioned Bush about the climate change.
At a rally in Derry last month a day after he launched his GOP presidential campaign, Bush said "the climate is changing, whether men are doing it or not."
He called for “policies of adaptation” to prepare for the harmful consequences of climate change.
Bush told Dover resident Alex Fried “natural gas has actually created a dramatic improvement in carbon emissions. Since 1975 it’s been flat.”
After Fried disagreed, Bush said “I just want to give you the facts.”
He asked Fried for a card, so he could email him information on climate change later in the day.
Bush then talked to a large group lively of Dover retirees sitting in the rear of the restaurant.
Asked about his stand on Social Security, Bush said “I think we ought to protect it for those who have already begun to receive it and reform it for those down the road because it will go bankrupt by 2033,” adding that “if nothing happens there will be a 25% reduction in payments in 2033.”
When another person sitting at the table asked Bush about what “they are going to do about ISIS,” Bush responded “ISIS. They? You’re looking at the guy that’s hopefully going to do it.”
“I don’t know who they is, “ Bush said to laughter.
“The president for the last two years has been asked twice ‘do we have a strategy’ he’s said ‘no, we don’t’. So we need a strategy. The strategy means we lead, but we don’t do it by ourselves. It means we embed into the Iraqi military to bolster them. It means arming the Kurds separately because they’re the best fighting force there. It means getting the rest of the area, the Saudis and the others, to support the effort to push them back,” Bush added.
Bush then walked back to the kitchen, to say hello to the morning cook. She asked him he had brought the hot and humid weather “from Florida.”
Bush said “this is way cooler. Florida right now would be about 90 degrees.”
Wednesday evening Bush holds a town hall at the VFW post in Hudson before returning to his family’s ocean side compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.