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Jeb Bush embraces brother, and Republican Jewish Coalition (still) embraces him

GOP 2016 Adelson Primary Bush

@PatriciaMazzei @lesleyclark

Jeb Bush embraced his brother's policy toward Israel on Thursday, telling a friendly Republican Jewish Coalition crowd in Washington that former President George W. Bush has his ear on the subject.

"The person who I rely on the most as it relates to U.S.-Israeli policy is my brother," Bush said. "I thought I could get an applause line out of that."

Bush had gotten a question about "anger" among Republican Jews that he had named former Secretary of State James Baker to his campaign advising team. Baker harshly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year, forcing Bush to clarify that he disagrees with his unpaid adviser, a longtime family friend.

In addition to garnering him applause, the line about his brother prompted another easy question for Bush about how his parents are doing.

"They're fine," he said. About his father, former President George H.W. Bush, he added: "He's watching Fox again, throwing his shoes, trying to figure out Donald Trump. I think that's his goal in life."

Bush received strong early support for his candidacy from the RJC, which fondly remembers the prior Bush administration. Though some donors worry about Jeb Bush's low standing in primary polls, they still gave the former Florida governor a warm welcome Thursday, cheering during his speech.

"Should I be president of the United States, there won't be any red lines unless it's backed up," Bush said, criticizing President Obama's handling of the war in Syria. Later, he also alluded to the Obama administration's policy toward Russia: "No more grandiose 'reset' buttons and then never following it up."

Bush wished the audience a happy Hanukkah and noted he's traveled five times to Israel. He also poked at Republican frontrunner Trump, without naming him.

"This is not about the big personalities on the stage," he said. "This is about the American people."

The next president, Bush said, should be "a person with a heart, a person with a brain, and a person with a backbone."

"I think you're looking at the next Republican nominee," he added. "I will take it to Hillary Clinton and whup her."

Photo credit: Susan Walsh, Associated Press