Portsmouth, NH -- While glad-handing in Portsmouth early Wednesday morning with Maine Senator Susan Collins at his side, Jeb Bush told reporters that the U.S. needs to reimpose sanctions "across the board" amid reports that North Korea conducted a hydrogen bomb test Tuesday.
"If they have long-range missile capability to deliver, that is a direct threat to the U.S. and there is nothing more to say about it," Bush told a gaggle of reporters following him around a Portsmouth breakfast retail campaign stop. "However we need to make sure it's been confirmed. You wake up in the morning, you see the news...it's not always necessarily turns out to be."
The U.S. is still investigating whether North Korea actually tested a thermonuclear device, although at this point, it is "highly skeptical" of the claim.
One diner made his way through the group of reporters to ask the former Florida Governor for his reaction to Saudi Arabia's mass execution over the weekend. Bush seemed to suggest that the U.S. should improve its relationship with the kingdom in order to prevent mass executions.
"A strong relationship with Saudi Arabia would allow us to say you shouldn't be executing people for the types of crimes they committed," Bush said.
Bush shook hands and made jokes with Republican and Democratic diners alike who had shown up at their regular breakfast spot, not knowing that they'd be met by a presidential candidate. Sherry Morrow encouraged her 13-year-old son, Zacharie to ask the presidential candidate a question about his favorite topic, prompting Zacharie to exclaim, "All my life I've loved space!" Bush then slid into their booth uninvited, but welcome.
"I'm upset NASA has kind of like -- closed," Morrow told his new table guest.
"It's not closed, but it's lost its purpose. There is no big aspirational purpose," Bush replied before diving into one of his favorite topics, the recent space exploration being spearheaded by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
"I'm not obsessive about space but I think it's part of our identity as a culture," Bush concluded. "My email is email@example.com. If you are ever in central Florida and there's a launch, let me know."
Bush was asked by a reporter if he was wearing appropriate footwear for the snowy New Hampshire weather. Showing off his brown suede dress shoes he quipped, "The heels are real low, just for the record."
That was aimed at Marco Rubio, whose heeled boots have met with mixed reviews on social media.
When Bush asked the group if they had any questions, one woman in the corner raised her hand very quickly.
"Are you calling on me?" Janet Armstrong of Kittery, Maine asked.
"Depends on what you say,"Bush joked.
"Say, 'Good luck!'" a man sitting next to her instructed.
"Good luck, good job, good luck!" Armstrong said.
"I appreciate that very much. More than you know," Bush responded.