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Jeb Bush: I'm still Donald Trump's biggest target

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Salem, New Hampshire September 10, 2015.

REUTERS

"They have to get in line!" An energetic and feisty Jeb Bush came to the defense of fellow Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson on Thursday, jokingly telling reporters, "I still think I'm the number one beneficiary of the Donald's insults."

Bush's comments in Exeter, New Hampshire were in response to the billionaire Donald Trump's new attacks on Fiorina and Carson.

"He is who he is. He likes to disparage people." Bush reiterated that if Trump wants to be a "serious candidate," then he "needs to act like a serious candidate." In an interview with CNN the same day, Bush said he didn't "get" Trump's attack against Fiorina, and that she should be "respected" as a viable candidate.

The Florida Republican promised that he had the "energy to serve" when asked if he would go on the offensive in next week's Republican presidential debate. "It's not about me. It's not about him. It's about the fact that people need to be lifted up right now, and I have the energy to be on their side, for sure." Trump repeatedly mocks Bush on the trail, accusing him of being "low energy." Bush joked, "I'm going to just be my boring normal self," when asked about what he would do differently.

"If the debate were going to be as simple as that I wouldn't need to prepare. It was great."

Commenting on his recent appearance on the debut of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, Bush said, "I had fun." He complimented the host as a "genuinely nice person" who "let him off the hook."

The Florida Republican also weighed in on whether the United States should take in more Syrian refugees, emphasizing the contribution of Vietnamese refugee community.

"We need to let refugees in," he said, without providing an exact number that should be allowed in. "We have been country that has allowed refugees to come in, and over the long haul it's been to our benefit."

Bush also provided reporters an update on his father, who he said was doing better. The 91 year old former President George H.W. Bush had broken a bone in his neck earlier in July. "He's in good spirits, watching Fox and throwing shoes at the TV when his son is attacked and insulted by his favorite candidate."

The younger Bush, who converted to Catholicism later in life, also had kind words for Pope Francis who will visit the United States in two weeks. He complimented the Pope as "an amazing man who speaks with such elegance and simplicity about things that are really important." Praising the Pope's recent move to allow priests to absolve women who have had abortions, Bush described it as "fantastic" that Francis was "showing mercy." Bush said he was "honored" to be able to attend a mass given by the Pope during a stop in Washington D.C later this month.