Jeb: Trump's rhetoric 'reminds me of Barack Obama'
© Getty Images

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says Republican rival Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE's controversial rhetoric reminds him of President Obama.

"I want to win. I want to win the presidency. A conservative has to win to fix these things. Language that divides us... this reminds me of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGeorge W. Bush honors father at benefit for hurricane victims Dem senator: ‘I miss every one of’ our last 5 presidents All five living former presidents appear at hurricane relief benefit concert MORE. Not as a candidate, but Barack Obama as president," said Bush in an interview with Fox News's Neil Cavuto.

"All he does is push people that don't agree with him down to make his side look better, and the divide makes it hard to solve problems. I don't think we're going to win that way," he added. 

Bush, who is polling second only to Trump in several recent surveys, has managed to avoid a public feud with the real estate tycoon, unlike other GOP contenders.

"I got enough on my own plate to sort out. To try to analyze Donald Trump is way above my pay grade," Bush said on Fox, before taking a shot at his rival.

"He garners attention with his language, he's larger than life, but this debate last night showed he doesn't have a lot of specifics."

During Thursday night's first GOP debate, Bush denied a report that he described Trump in an interview with a donor as an "ass----," noting he has described Trump's remarks as divisive. Trump showed his appreciation after Bush denied the report, saying he was a "true gentleman."

"Did it get under my skin, did it anger me that he retweeted a tweet saying that I'm soft on immigration because my wife is from Mexico?" Bush asked during the Fox News interview.

"That is outrageous, unfair," he said of a tweet that Trump later deleted. "My wife is an American, by the way, an American by choice. She loves this country. She wants this border to be secure as well."

Bush also said that it was "premature" to say how Trump's campaign will unfold, with the billionaire businessman refusing to rule out a third-party bid.

"I hope he stays as a Republican," Bush said.