Washington -- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Monday has an idea about how he can win the White House, but first he called on Republicans in Congress to offer "adult-like" leadership by working with Democrats to pass bills in the final two years of President Obama's administration.
"They should lead," Bush said in an on-stage interview at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. "They should take the things that are possible to achieve, they should try to forge consensus with Democrats in the congress, and they should start passing bills."
"We have to actually show that we can -- in an adult-like way -- govern, lead," said Bush. To that end, he recommended that Republicans should act soon to pass a series of energy reforms, like approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
He also criticized President Obama's recent executive actions on immigration, saying they went way beyond his father's and President Reagan's actions, which he characterized as being "on a much smaller scale." Bush predicted that the "lack of trust" now between Republican lawmakers and the president makes it unlikely that they would be able to agree on comprehensive immigration reform.
Appearing before an audience filled with some of the biggest CEOs in the world, including NewsCorp Chairman Rupert Murdoch, FedEx founder Fred Smith, as well as senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Bush elaborated a little more on his "soul searching" about a 2016 presidential run. It's a decision, he said, that he will make "in short order, not that far out into the future."
"I don't know if I'd be a bad candidate or a good one," he joked.
Acknowledging widespread skepticism about his ability to appeal to conservatives, given his moderate positions on immigration and Common Core education standards, Bush hinted that he embraces his differences with hard-liners within his party.
"I know, I kind of know, how a Republican can win, whether it's me or someone else," he said. Bush said his hypothetical candidacy would be "much more uplifting, much more positive."
He said a Republican must be willing to "lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles. And it's not an easy task, to be honest with you."