BEDFORD, N.H. — Jeb Bush said on Friday that his plan for reforming the nation’s immigration system is “the grown-up plan.”
Bush kicked off his first pre-2016 trip to New Hampshire with a visit to the Integra Biosciences manufacturing plant in Hudson, where he took questions from local business leaders. The former Florida governor, whose position on immigration reform has come under criticism from members of his party, once again endorsed “earned legal status” for immigrants who entered the country illegally.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Well, anything you can propose is amnesty.’ But that’s not a plan,” Bush said. “That’s a sentiment perhaps.”
Bush also faced questions about Common Core, the national educational standards that he’s supported despite widespread opposition from conservative politicians.
Just because there is “political heat” around an issue, Bush said, “you don’t abandon your core beliefs.
“You need to be genuine. You need to have a backbone,” he added.
Bush also took the opportunity to try to cast differences between his use of private email and that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is expected to make her Democratic candidacy for the White House official in coming weeks.
“I had a BlackBerry,” Bush said. “It was part of my official portrait, for crying out loud. There was nothing to hide. Florida has perhaps the most open public-record laws. ... We complied with the law, and we have now made all my emails — long before Mrs. Clinton’s issues came up — we made them public for you to see. So it’s totally different.”