Jeb Bush feels conservative heat as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz go on attack

Having announced this week that he will “actively explore” a presidential bid in 2016, former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., is drawing fire from other Republicans looking at running for the White House.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was asked about Bush’s announcement when he appeared on Megan Kelly’s show on Fox News on Tuesday. Paul quickly took aim at Bush, criticizing the former Florida governor’s support of Common Core standards.

“Most of us believe in less federal government and more decentralized government, particularly with education,” Paul insisted about his fellow Republicans, noting that Ronald Reagan called for abolishing the federal Department of Education.

“For Jeb Bush to run in the primary will be very, very difficult, because if you’re going to be for a national curriculum and for Common Core and for No Child Left Behind, this accumulation of power in Washington, that’s not very popular,” Paul said. “It’s going to be overcoming if he thinks he can win the primary.”

Another Republican in the U.S. Senate — Ted Cruz of Texas — with his eyes on 2016 also took a shot at Bush.

Cruz insisted when the Republicans run a moderate as their presidential candidate, they lose.

“If we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney — and let me be clear, all three of those men, they’re good men, they’re honorable men, they’re decent men, they’re men of character, they’re war heroes — but what they did didn’t work,” Cruz told Politico. “It did not succeed. And if we nominate another candidate in that same mold, the same voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 will stay home in 2016, and Hillary Clinton is the next president.”

Cruz told Politico it was up to the voters to determine if Bush is in the “mold” of Dole, McCain and Romney.

Two new polls show Bush near the head of the Republican pack, behind only former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass. A new Washington Post poll shows Bush placing second, but when Romney is taken out of the equation, the former Florida governor moves ahead of the other candidates with 15 percent while Paul ties with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., for second with 11 percent. A new poll from Fox News also shows Bush in second place behind Romney.
Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN