Jeb Bush: 'I applaud the president' for outreach to GOP lawmakers

President Obama's new charm offensive with Capitol Hill Republicans drew positive reviews Sunday from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

"I am not a cynic about this. I think it is important and I applaud the president for doing it, and I think Republicans appreciate it," he said on the CNN program "State of the Union."

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Obama has angered Republicans with efforts to build public pressure on the GOP without outside-the-Beltway rallies and events on topics like gun control and immigration. And in the run up to the $85 billion in sequester cuts, which took effect this month, Obama sought to blame GOP lawmakers for the budget axe and any fallout.

But Obama, locked in a stand-off with Republicans on fiscal policy and other topics, had dinner with a dozen GOP senators Wednesday and lunch with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on Thursday, to discuss the prospects for a grand deficit deal.

And later this week he will travel to Capitol Hill for separate meetings with House Republicans on Wednesday and Senate Republicans on Thursday.


Bush, asked about the outreach, said, "I don't know what he is doing, but I would encourage him to do more of it."

"It is important to build trust if you are trying to deal with big things, big issues require everybody to get outside their comfort zone, and people are more willing to do so if they believe that their partner is sincere in their efforts. The only way you can do that is to engage them on a personal level," Bush said.

"Whether anything comes of this or not, it could have the chance of restoring a degree of civility. This is the first step to problem-solving and solutions in our nation's capital," he said.

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