Former Gov. Jeb Bush is wandering the halls of the state Capitol today, advocating for his Foundation for Florida's Future education package because Gov. Charlie Crist canceled a lunch with Bush and other former governors so that he could introduce President Barack Obama in Fort Myers. Crist wants the stimulus package. Bush thinks it's bad news, as evidenced by this brief interview as he hustled away and drove off in a family wagon driven by Foundation chief Pat Levesque along with lobbyist John Thrasher.
Q: Why not go to Fort Myers?
Bush: "It wouldn't be right. I don't support the bill. It's a whole lot of spending and it's not very stimulative. You know, $800 billion used to mean something."
Q: What would you do to stimulate the economy?
Bush: "Broad-based tax cuts for individuals and business and spending on truly shovel-ready infrastructure.
Q: What's wrong with the package in your view.
Bush: "Gigantic amount of money being spent that is not stimulative. There's enough history to suggest something like that at best won't have the desired effect. Worse: it could prolong the economic downturn. So I think it's bad policy. Plus, it will create more inflation down the road you can't sustain. We're talking 9-10 percent GDP for the budget deficit. That's a lot. These guys (Legislature) are struggling to balance the budget because they have a constitutional requirement to do so. To their credit, they're doing the best they can under extraordinary circumstances. In Washington, they just crank up the printing press."
Q: Why did you decide not run for senate.
Bush: "You saw the statement."
Kristy Campbell (Bush spokeswoman): I'm going to end this gaggle.
Q: It's not a gaggle. I'm the only reporter here.
Bush: "He's the only guy up here. He's the press. Whats the singular of press corps?"
Q: What did Crist want to talk about?
Bush: "I don't know. I love the office (of governor)."
Q: You coming back. They say you might run for office again in a couple years.
Bush: "See you later, man."