In a sit-down with CNN reporters and producers Tuesday, Bush said that he and other Republicans wish the party would “return to George W. Bush on this issue,” referring to the former president’s bipartisan push to reform the nation’s immigration policy.
But with Election Day fast approaching, Bush said it’s probably too late for Republicans to pivot away from the party’s conservative base and seize the political high ground on the immigration issue.
“I am a pessimist as to the timing right now,” said Bush, a co-founder of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas and a fluent Spanish speaker.
Mitt Romney – who got himself into hot water during the Republican primary for promoting the idea of ‘self-deportation’ – has yet to detail a full set of immigration plans but promises to address the matter in a “civil and resolute” manner if he were to become president.
President Obama made waves in June on the hot-button immigration issue, when he issued an executive order allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States without fear of deportation, a move seen by many as an attempt to shore up support among Hispanic voters.
Bush said he sees the nation’s growing Latino population as an “opportunity” for his party to gain some ground with voters, saying that many consider themselves independents, even though polling shows that Democrats have a huge lead among Hispanic voters.
Asked about his own political future, Bush said he has “no specific plans” to run for office.
“I have been asked to look at offices in Texas,” said Bush, offering that his wife “would be perfectly content if I didn’t run.”
“I love politics,” said Bush. “I can’t get it out of my blood.”
Bush is pushing other politically like-minded young adults to rally for the party with his political action committee, Maverick PAC.
The organization hopes to bring in a modest $2 million in fundraising through grassroots support rather than from traditional big money contributors, even though the group has an affiliated Super PAC targeting deeper-pocketed GOP donors.
“We are building a member base that will last well into perpetuity,” said Jay Zeidman, national co-chair of MavPAC.
MavPAC supports young, Republican candidates like Ohio Senate hopeful Josh Mandel and Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock.
this interview appeared on CNN on 7/11/12