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Jeb waxes political to rebuild GOP

Former Gov. Jeb Bush wasn't exactly known as a listener during his two-term reign of Florida politics, but yesterday he and other Republican leaders began a "listening tour'' to help revive the party. Story about Bush's involvement is here.

Here are excerpts of Bush's remarks at the first town hall meeting ot the National Council for a New America:

"I've seen conservatives move up. I've seen conservatives move down. I've seen liberals move up and move down. That's just kind of the nature of things in our country and that's a good thing. But what I've seen in the last few years is really troubling, which is most of politics, it seems to me, is dominated by a food fight rather than about the issues going forward for our country.

"It is tough around the country. People are scared. They're anxious. They're fearful for their savings. They're wondering how theyre going to retire. Those are short-term challenges that we need to face. And then there are the longer-term challenges related to things that we haven't been able to deal with in a substantial way that we need to. We need to pause what we're doing and as a country realize that the greatness of our country is in peril if we can't figure out to deal with the ticking time bomb of our entitlement challenges of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. If we can't figure out how the greatest country on the face of the Earth continues to be that way as it relates to being competitive in a world
that is moving at warp speed, changing dramatically, where the China's and the India's have a command focus for economic growth and it does create opportunities for us but it also creates great challenges.

"My reason for being here is that I think ideas have consequences and that we ought to have a thoughtful discussion about those ideas. From the conservative side, it's time for us to listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit, to not be nostalgic about the past because things do ebb and flow and it's nice to remember the good old days when the good guys if you're a conservative were in power or if youre a liberal, remember nostalgically when they were in power. None of that matters right now. What we need to do is to listen, to learn and then there will be a new generation of leaders that will lead."

"Listen, learn, lead and that's what I believe this National Council can provide is a chance to create a forum for people to truly listen and then to create a consensus around 21st century ideas that truly matter for American families. And then hopefully -- God willing -- embrace our conservative principles and take these new ideas and present them to the American people in elections and all sorts of other ways and lead."

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