TODAY   |  March 04, 2013

Jeb Bush: I’m not ruling out 2016 run

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush talks with TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the sequester cuts will have on the economy and national security and strategies for improving our immigration system.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> jeb bush is the author of a brand new book called "immigration wars." chuck said this is the new norm in washington , dealing with sequester, the cuts went into effect, the finger pointing continues. will we see a manufactured crisis that doesn't get resolved, is this the new norm?

>> early may, the debt ceiling again. i view this kind of as a temporary problem in our history, but it is -- it appears to be the last two years we're de dealing with --

>> i'm surprised there haven't been more outrage on the part of the general public . do you think that's because people are simply numb to this by now, the dysfunction of washington or do you think there's a case of crying wolf here and they don't believe how severe the impact is going to be?

>> there was a lot of crying wo wolf.

>> on both sides?

>> no. i think the president kind of led the charge to say that widows and orphans were going to be out on the street. when it didn't happen he actually, himself, kind of stepped back on friday to say it wasn't going to happen that way. we'll have significant cuts in defense spending and discretionary spending for sure. i think it was oversold. you're right, i think people are just numb by this dysfunction and they watch it with their peripheral vision .

>> some people, senator lindsey graham , for instance, is saying we can still get a grand bargain. he wants the president and the speaker go back to where they were in 2011 and pick that up and deal with entitlements and perhaps more revenues because of closing loopholes. should your party come to the table on the issue of increased revenues?

>> you know, i think it's a little hard to imagine after january where the highest -- the biggest tax increase in american history took place and then go back to say we have a revenue problem.

>> no wiggle room there at all?

>> there may be. there may be if the president is sincere about dealing with our structural problems. the thing we can all agree on is how can we create sustained growth and to get back to where budgets are passed? going back to the new normal being the house and senate pass a budget and there's a compromise and the president sign it is into law.

>> this all gets to the dynamic in washington right now. you are passionate about immigration reform . you write in your book, among the many steps we need to take to restore american economic growth and prosperity, none offers a more immediate return than improving our immigration system. if we're still po pointing fingers over the sequester, is there any chance that meaningful action taking on immigration in this kind of dynamic?

>> this is the one place where cats and dogs seem to be getting along a little more. i'm optimistic that there could be a consensus going forward on immigration. it would be better to get the budget issues behind us so there could be a focus on this, regulatory reform and policy, things that would allow us to grow atty more sustained rate.

>> you've been invited by c- pac to speak before them. you have this new book. it sounds like you're gearing up for a run. those are the kinds of things people do when they're increasing their public profile. are you going to run in 2016 ?

>> that's way off into the future. i have a voice. i want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the republican party can regain its footing, because we've lost our way.

>> but you clearly have not ruled out -- you will not definitively rule out a run for president in 2016 ?

>> i won't but i'm not going to declare today either, matt.

>> are you surprised that c- pac did not offer an invitation to chris christie , a guy who has a 74% approval rating? why did they snub him? are you surprised by that?

>> a little surprised. on the one hand he did get invited on the ye ed the year before and h e will get elected next year when he is re-elected. budget issues related to sandy, trying to advocate his position.

>> budget issues, not the optics of him appearing with president obama ? you don't think that has anything to do with this?

>> i don't think so. i think the issue of castigating the house, particularly, for not going along with a $60 billion spending deal that had very little to do with sandy recovery and when it got down to funding sandy, house republicans went along with that. that's what i think was the critique. i love christie . i think governor christie is part of the future of the republican party for sure. whether he is going to c- pac or not is not really changing that.

>> i can see that in a christie 2016 campaign ad , jeb bush , i love christie .

>> i do. i love the man.

>> you'll come back in our 8:30 hour. we're going to take a lot about immigration. appreciate you being here.