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Jan 21, 2016 11:30 PM

Steinhauser: Bush tells NH1 News that Marco Rubio has 'once again cut and run'

NH1 News Political Director

HAMPTON – Pushing back against jabs from Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush says his rival for the Republican presidential nomination “has changed his views on things.”

And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, Bush also touted his ground game in the first-in-the-nation primary state, saying he’s got “hundreds of people on the ground.”

The former Florida governor spoke with NH1 News hours after Rubio, the Sunshine State’s junior senator, told reporters that “while many conservatives around the country were fighting against the Obama agenda, Jeb was nowhere to be found. In fact he spent most of his time traveling the country trying to push Common Core onto our local school districts across the country.”

Asked to respond to those comments, Bush said “look, Marco Rubio supported Race to the Top, which is the means by which the federal government indirectly played role in Common Core being implemented. I’m for higher standards and I don’t think the federal government should have any role in creation of standards, content, or curriculum. My view has been crystal clear. He’s once again cut and run, he’s changed his view on things.”

“I have a proven record as it relates to education reform. No one comes close in terms of school choice, social promotion, accountability in schools, rewarding teachers for a job well done. My record. I’ll stand on that and will campaign on it,” Bush added.

Bush and Rubio, once close friends, have been throwing verbal punches for weeks as they try to attract the same center-right GOP primary voters. The two men, along with governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are all pretty much knotted up in the primary battle for second and third place behind front runner Donald Trump.

On Monday Kasich told NH1 News “I maintain that we have the best ground game that New Hampshire has seen in modern times.”

Bush disputed that claim from Kasich “because we have hundreds of volunteers inside the state and outside the state. We have voter contact that we’re working on. We have 40 people paid working plus literally hundreds of people on the ground. So it matters and we’ll see how it plays out on election day but I’m confident that it will be helpful to us. Whatever the polling says is great but you also to get people out to the polls.”

Bush was wearing his glasses on Thursday as he spoke with NH1 News minutes before holding a town hall at the Hampton Academy, but this reporter asked the governor why he wasn’t wearing them on Wednesday, when he did a remote interview with CNN.

Laughing, Bush said “well I like to see. Nice seeing you Paul. Good to see you. It’s a helpful thing. When you’r

looking into a camera when you’re sitting in a studio, you don’t have to see. You can just stare right into the camera.”

“You’ve made Tim Miller really happy by asking that question,” Bush added to laughter as he referred to his communications director.

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