In the wake of Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate in Arizona - the 20th of the season - former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is expressing concerns about the nature of Republican discourse in the current election cycle.
Bush, the son and brother of former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush respectively, said he found the GOP debates "a little troubling" because the candidates are appealing to voters' emotions rather than more overarching political concerns.
"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 sometimes when people are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that's kind of where we are," Bush said after a speech in Dallas on Thursday.
"I think it changes when we get to the general election," he added. "I hope."
Bush said that appealing to the less moderate voters in the Republican party could hurt the GOP nominee in the general election.
"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," he said the same day, according to a CBS affiliate in Dallas.
The influential Florida politician has declined to endorse a candidate in this election cycle, and has even been cited as a possible last-minute Republican alternative to the current slate of GOP contenders.
Rick Santorum took a hit in Wednesday's GOP debate over his having supported the controversial education policy "No Child Left Behind" put forth by Jeb Bush's brother George W. Bush, a measure Santorum said he voted for only out of loyalty to the then-president.
"It was against the principles I believed in, but, you know, when you're part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader," Santorum said, calling his support a "mistake."