January 26th, 2012

Jeb Bush: I don’t think a party can aspire to be the majority party if it’s the old white guy party.

In an interview earlier today on CNN’s John King, USA, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke with CNN’s John King about the future of the GOP and more. A highlight from the interview is below.

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s John King, USA

Highlight from Full Interview

KING:  You say you do that at your peril. What’s the future, as a national party for Republicans? Your brother got 41 percent of the Latino vote in 2004.  John McCain slipped to 31 percent.

If that trend continues, sir, five, 10, 15 years from now, will the Republicans even be able to compete nationally, if they don’t repair this breach?

BUSH:  Well, I mean, this is an oversimplification, but I don’t think a party can aspire to be the majority party if it’s the old white guy party.  So, clearly, there are new constituencies emerging in our country.  They’re making a difference in our communities, a positive difference.  The — the — the tone of the message, the message itself needs to be focused on — on where the changing demographics of our country are.

And so, absolutely, if we do nothing to try to reach out to voters that — that believe in our values but feel turned off by the rhetoric, that is the dumbest thing in the world to do.  And my guess is that there’s a growing awareness of this.  I sense the candidates, as they’ve campaigned in Florida, have begun to understood — understand that a little better.

KING:  Governor, Saturday night, as the results were coming in in South Carolina and it was clear that Governor Romney was getting a thumping from Speaker Gingrich, I was reaching out to a number of sources asking what would happen when we came to Florida.  And some sources in the Romney campaign and some other sources who are not in the Romney campaign but are involved in the Republican Party and know you, they were suggesting that you were, perhaps, ready to endorse.

And then came word directly from you, no, that was not going to happen.

I’m told since that there were active conversations back and forth between you and the campaign, but what I was told earlier today was that you pulled back because you were concerned that some of Governor Romney’s language on the immigration issue was too off-putting to those Latino votes we were just talking about.

Is that fair?

BUSH:  No, you know, I — I’m — I sent Governor Romney an e-mail.  I talked to him on Thursday and I sent him an e-mail on Friday saying my decision was to stay out of the race and it really related to, I think, the fact that I — I think we have well qualified candidates — and we haven’t talked about Rick Santorum or Ron Paul, but certainly we have well qualified candidates.  And I — I just think that they can earn this and it will make them better — better contenders in the fall.

After all, at the end of the day, this is not about winning a Republican primary.

KING:  All right.  As you — do you — have you decided who you’re going to vote for?

BUSH:  I’ve already voted.  I voted absentee.  I’m one of a third or 40 percent of all the voters that will have already made up their mind.  And thank God it’s a secret ballot, John.

KING:  You don’t care to share that with us today, I’m guessing?