GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush cast himself as the likeable conservative during his appearance on the inaugural episode of CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."


The former Florida governor largely stuck to a modified stump speech, ticking off a wish list for his time in the White House that included reigning in spending, changing the tax code and spurring growth. He also preached the importance of restoring a “degree of civility” to national politics when asked by Colbert if he could change the culture in Washington that's made politics a "blood sport."

“I don’t think Barack Obama has bad motives. I think he’s wrong on a lot of issues,” Bush said. 

“If you start with the premise that people have bad motives, you can’t find common ground.”

When asked how he differs from his brother — former President George W. Bush — on policy issues, Bush told Colbert that he doesn’t agree with his brother on federal spending. 

“I think my brother probably didn’t control the Republican Congress’s spending,” Bush said. 

“I think he should have put the hammer down on the Republicans when they started spending too much.”

Colbert ribbed Bush for his logo, which consists of his name with an exclamation point. 

"I've been using 'Jeb!' since 1994," Bush said. "It connotes excitement."

Bush’s appearance comes as he’s crowded out of the top tier of GOP candidates by Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Despite leading polls early in the election cycle, he’s failed to snare double-digits in four of the last five national polls and sits at third in RealClearPolitics’s average of recent polls.

The move to appear on Colbert’s inaugural show is a play at reaching younger voters, especially on a night where the new host was expected to draw a sizable audience.

Tuesday night’s show marked the first time Colbert hosted a show without channeling his alter-ego, the caricature of a brash conservative commentator that made him famous during his days on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” While his late-night show departed from his previous show’s complete focus on political news, the new program didn’t shy away from Colbert’s typical ridicule of the political headlines.

He took on the media’s expansive coverage of Donald Trump, comparing it to eating Oreo cookies, the snack Trump swore off after its parent company moved a plant to Mexico.

“Jut like the rest of the media, I will be covering all of the presidential candidates who are Donald Trump,” he said.

“I’ve got to exercise discipline,” he told Trump and the cookies he placed on his desk. 

“You don’t own me, I don’t need to play tape of you to have a successful TV show,” he added, before showing clip after clip of Trump and shoveling Oreos into his mouth.