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Oct 15, 2015 12:27 AM

Steinhauser: Bush tells NH1 News Kasich's criticism 'dead wrong'; needles Trump

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Jeb Bush says that Republican presidential nomination rival John Kasich’s criticism of the former Florida governor’s new health care plan is “dead wrong.”

And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, Bush also needled GOP front runner Donald Trump for allowing an 18-year old girl “to get under his skin.”

Bush spoke with NH1 News on Wednesday evening, moments before he held a town hall at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord. At the event, State Senate President Chuck Morse officially endorsed Bush, saying he’s proud to “co-chair of the Jeb Bush campaign for president and we’re going to make it work here in New Hampshire.”

Morse added that Bush “stands head and shoulders above the rest” of the Republican field.

Bush spoke with NH1 News two days after unveiling his new health care proposals at a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Bush’s plan calls for repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Earlier Wednesday, in a conference call organized by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, state Rep. Cindy Rosenwalk of Nashua charged that “Jeb Bush is determined to take away health care coverage for over 90,000 Granite Staters.

Bush pushed back against such criticism, telling NH1 News that "if you block grant, you create a pool of money for Medicaid, all of the people on the exchanges now, SCHIP (State Children Health Insurance Program), let the states craft their own policies without the mandates, you're going to have a lower cost catastrophic coverage for all people and there would be a transition period for people on the Obamacare.’

Bush went on to slam President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying that “this is a failed system. It’s unpopular for a good reason. So proposing an alternative that allows people to have more choices, where we’re focused on empowering people rather than government, particularly Washington, is the way to go.”

Bush’s Monday health care roll out followed recent proposals on tax cuts and entitlement reform. Thursday Kasich, the two-term Ohio governor and a rival for the GOP nomination, will introduce an wide ranging economic and fiscal plan that hits on multiple topics.

In a sit down interview aboard his campaign bus on Tuesday, Kasich said “frankly I think these one-off, knock off plans, they just get lost in the ether. I mean how do they all fit together.”

Bush responded on Wednesday, saying “I love Kasich, but he’s just dead wrong on this. These aren’t one-off plans, these are thoughtful plans that will create rising income for the middle class and lift people out of poverty. That’s exactly what we need to be focused on.”

Bush said that his plans were “validated by the top conservative folks in the country, it’s a recognition that we have the most detailed plans out there.”

Bush’s interview with NH1 News also came two days after an 18-year old woman, Lauren Batchelder, criticized Trump. Asking Trump a question, Batchelder charged that “I don’t think you’re a friend to women.

The question received loud applause by many in the audience at the bipartisan No Labels conference in Mancheste

Trump, who’s faced these types of question before, quickly said “I respect women, I love women, I cherish women.

Later Trump took to Twitter to accuse Bush of planting Batchelder at the conference.

Asked about Trump’s accusation, Bush said ”this is an 18 year old girl who volunteers for worthy causes. She's a supporter of mine. She's an intern. She's not paid.”

And Bush took the fight directly to Trump, saying, “for an 18-year old to get under his skin, how's Putin going to be. If you can't deal with an 18-year old kid who's asked a sincere question how are you going to deal with the world leaders."

Bush, the one-time front runner for the nomination, now polls in the single digits, far behind Trump. But Bush said his poll numbers are “are creeping up, they're creeping up. Be patient."

Bush went on to say that “I’m going to campaign in every nook and cranny in this state, to show my heart and show my passion for the fact that we can fix these things.”

And Bush took a shot at his rivals, saying “instead of tearing this country down like a lot of candidates do, I’m going to talk about how we fix it so we can lift it up.”

Before the interview ended, Bush was asked about a report that a consultant recommended that Bush ditch his glasses.

“You gotta be who you are. You gotta have fun doing this. And you have to be genuine, so I wear my glasses because I can't see without them. It's a slight problem,” Bush concluded.

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