MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is warning the current crop of GOP presidential candidates to tone down the extreme rhetoric or run the risk of alienating some crucial voters.
“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 when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotions,” Bush told Fox News.
The Republican debates have provided plenty of fodder for Bush. Just in the last debate, Newt Gingrich accused President Barack Obama of supporting infanticide. All of the extreme rhetoric may play well in the primary, but voters tend to remember things, a fact not lost on Bush.
“I think it’s important for the candidates to recognize though they have to appeal to primary voters, and not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition,” Bush told CBSDallas.com.
Bush said he isn’t going to run in 2012, despite widespread speculation the GOP isn’t comfortable with any of the current candidates. Bush said the nominee would be one of the remaining candidates: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or Ron Paul.