Jeb Bush says he struggles with the death penalty

Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaks during a campaign event at the Coca Cola bottling plant in Atlantic, Iowa, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015.

AP

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush told Christianity Today that he supports the death penalty. Yet as a devout Catholic, "I struggle with it," he said.

"We're always confronted with challenges where one's values come into conflict, and this was a perfect case of that," he said. While he was uncomfortable signing death warrants when he served as governor of Florida, Bush said he did it to follow the law and to provide closure to the families of victims involved.

"You know, these are egregious crimes. Very few people make it to death row," he said. "I felt committed to doing it because of the hurting families because of these horrific crimes, and we had a duty to do this."

The former governor said he supports the death penalty as a crime deterrent but said that it's ineffective because of the lengthy appeals process that always applies to death penalty cases. As governor, he tried to limit the appeals process to five years.

A CBS News poll from September shows that 59 percent of all Americans, including 54 percent of Catholic Americans, support the death penalty.

Bush told Christianity Today that his faith significantly influences his policy decisions. "It's an integral part of who I am, so why wouldn't it be a significant part of how I would govern?" he said.