Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is taking aim at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s gubernatorial record as the Republican presidential candidates battle for position in New Hampshire.
During an interview with The Washington Post, Bush contrasted his eight-year gubernatorial record to those of the other governors running for president, particularly Christie.
"My broad point is that my record I think is the one that, if you compare the three governors, in spite of their talents, is the best one,” Bush said.
“And I think independent observers would suggest — whether it’s education, the commitment to reforming our child-welfare system or the other things that we did that were across the board, our child-support system, our business climate, taking on the plaintiffs’ bar, the teachers union, the government unions — I think people would say without a doubt that I have the best record."
Bush took a swipe at Christie over New Jersey’s downgraded credit ratings caused by the state’s pension system while he was serving as governor.
“Our pension was never raided to pay for the current obligations," Bush said. "We actually put constraints on making sure that the employer portion of the pension obligations was always funded.
“We put a reserving policy in that when I left, my successor had $9.5 billion of reserves,” he added. “Not many politicians do that except for committed conservatives with a proven record."
Bush’s criticism comes about a month out from the New Hampshire primary. Christie has been building momentum in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Christie is in fourth in the state, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average, with Bush in sixth.
Right to Rise, the super-PAC aligned with Bush, has been airing TV and radio ads in New Hampshire that seek to point out the differences between the records of Bush, Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Bush, who’s been plummeting in the polls, admitted during the interview that with Donald Trump as Republican front-runner, the other candidates are vying for second place in New Hampshire.
“Look, Trump’s the front-runner and there’s a jump ball for second with five candidates and that will be sorted out over the next few weeks," Bush said.
He said he’s pitted in a five-way race against Christie, Kasich and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
"I think we have the best volunteers with the greatest commitment and greatest record and get the candidate a little better, I think we’ll be in good shape," Bush said of his chances in the Granite State.
The New Hampshire GOP primary will be held Feb. 9.