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Jeb finds “fear” mongering by GOP candidates “a little troubling.” Paging Rick Santorum?

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has watched the 20 Republican debates. And he doesn’t like what he sees. Unlike the candidates and some in the conservative cognescenti, Bush doesn’t seem to be on a blame-the-media jihad. He thinks the candidates have problems in and of themselves.

 “I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that’s kind of where we are,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush said after a Thursday Dallas speech, according to Fox News reported. “I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.”

Bush didn’t give specifics, though his concern about the GOP’s tone over the immigration debate is longstanding. Bush also didn’t single out any candidates, but his comments tellingly follow the last debate where former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum essentially dissed Bush’s brother’s singular education reform plan: No Child Left Behind.

More broadly, as the Washington Post points out, Santorum sounded anything but optimistic when he said: “We hear this all time -- so you cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything’s not going to be fine.”

Santorum, who did poorly in the debate, blamed his performance on what he said was a pro-Romney crowd. Earlier in the week, the pro-Romney Drudge Report dredged up a 2008 speech at Catholic Ave Maria University where Santorum said Satan was targeting the United States.

Right now, national polls indicate President Obama would beat any Republican candidate by a slim margin, but Romney matches up best against him. Still, as the primary drags on, Romney’s favorability ratings are slipping.

 “I think it’s important for the candidates to recognize they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition,” Bush  told CBS after the Dallas speech.’

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