Bush on Rubio: 'He’s not going to get a layup’

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) said Monday that Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign Republicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE should not expect an easy path toward the Republican presidential nomination.

“He’s not going to get a layup,” he told hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s “New Day.”

"He’s got to earn it. There’s no coronation here. The whole Washington establishment can’t just say, ‘part the waters, Marco’s coming.' Let’s have a couple of skirmishes here.”

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Bush argued that a brutal GOP primary is essential for preparing the eventual nominee for Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonQueer Marine veteran launches House bid after incumbent California Rep. Susan Davis announces retirement Poll: Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Florida Former immigration judge fined, temporarily banned from federal service for promoting Clinton policies MORE.

“Whoever is the Republican nominee better buckle their seatbelts for when the Clinton hit machine comes,” he said.

Bush admitted that he does not enjoy butting heads with Rubio on the campaign trail.

“It’s not comfortable for me to attack Marco Rubio,” he said of his former protégé in Florida. "He’s my friend and I admire him. He’s a gifted speaker and a gifted politician. [But] he’s never had a job where he’s had to tell people ‘no.’”

The former Florida governor added that Rubio is much more spontaneous than his last debate performance suggested.

“In Marco’s case, he’s not as scripted as he came across during that debate,” Bush said of last Saturday’s contest at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H.