This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 4, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: My next guest, son of one president and the brother of another, is rumored to be considering a run for the White House in 2016. Here tonight to weigh in on everything from the sequester the debt, the national security issues we face, immigration, which is the topic, by the way, of his brand new book, it hits bookstores tomorrow.
Author of "Immigration Wars, Forging An American Solution" former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. How are you, Governor? Good to see you.
JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Sean, I'm fantastic.
HANNITY: Your dad is doing better I hear?
BUSH: He is. He is, thank goodness. He's out of the hospital and mom is taking care of him and he has a lot of love in the house and he's recovering, little by little.
HANNITY: A very tight family. I know that you all have -- when you hear, Bush 41, Bush 43, Bush 45? You left the door open this morning so I've got to ask you.
BUSH: You know, I did because I didn't say, no, but it's three years out or four years out from an election, so, I'm going to -- what I've decided is not to worry about it, not to think about it, to continue on the path I'm on and you know, not fret about it.
This is way too early to be making these kinds of decisions. You know, maybe it's a little odd that there'd be three people from the same family being president out of 45 presidents, it's a little strange, but I'm not going to shut the door completely either. It's not -- I don't wake up each day fretting about it and I'm not going to.
HANNITY: When I've interviewed your brother, he wants you to run.
BUSH: I know.
HANNITY: He's mentioned it every once in awhile?
BUSH: He does occasionally, he does and what can I say?
HANNITY: Well, I guess he has a lot of faith and confidence in you. Let's talk about this president. One of the things I'd like to get your thoughts on and you've discussed it in the past is Barack Obama has blamed George Bush an awful lot in the last four plus years. What is your reaction to that?
BUSH: Well, the president was dealt a tough hand. When he became president there were a lot of really tough circumstances that he had to deal with. And it might be natural to try to push down the guy before you to make yourself look better during difficult circumstances. But it's been four long years now and it's time to accept responsibility for the economy that we have and for the policies that have, I think, created tepid economic growth. The whole issue that seems to be missing in Washington D.C. these days is how do we create sustained high growth because that would solve a lot of the problems?
The partisan divide would begin to, I think, shrink pretty dramatically if we had an energy strategy that created American jobs. We created 21st Century regulation that accomplished the same task at a lower cost, tax reform, education reform, there's a whole slew of things that the president could be advocating, but he is constantly campaigning and constantly dividing the country.
HANNITY: I don't think it got as bad as last week, and I think he's done a lot of dividing as you point out over the years. You know, I look at for North Dakota where they've been drilling on private lands and we're now the energy center of the world, it's not the Middle East anymore with oil, shale, fracking, natural gas, et cetera. Couldn't we sort of make that boom in North Dakota happen nationwide?
BUSH: We could. I mean, there are reserves in New York. There are significant gas reserves using this technology or new innovation, the fracking and horizontal drilling, which are old technologies applied in a new way. In California, certainly in Texas there's an explosion of drilling that creates a tremendous opportunity, but what we need to do is to find new uses for natural gas.
Maybe the Boon Pickens idea of taking commercial trucking and converting it to natural gas. Certainly, the new power capacity that's going to be built should be natural gas. There are a lot of ways that we can use strategic policies to be able to increase demand, to lessen our dependence upon sources of oil.
Last year, in spite of the boom, Sean, $300 billion of money went out to countries, most of which either hate us or are unstable and could learn to hate us in a heartbeat.
HANNITY: Yes. What do you make of the economy? We just had the big sequester issue.
HANNITY: The world is still going as we know it.
BUSH: Apparently day one, we're OK.
HANNITY: It looks like we're doing OK here. Earlier this morning, you said that well now may not be the time for tax increase. You said the idea of it being part of a package. As governor, you didn't raise taxes. How many times did you cut taxes?
BUSH: I cut taxes every year when I was governor.
HANNITY: Every single year.
BUSH: Yes, and to me, growing the economy would create exponential revenue, much more than this effort to try to he redistribute well. The strategy for the president isn't to create revenue to deal with our structural deficits. It's to create a new America through redistribution of wealth, where success is penalized at the expense of those that are struggling.
And what we ought to be doing is building capacity for those that are struggling so they can be successful as well. And that's what's missing in the debate, but my point of view is that we shouldn't be drawing lines in the sand.If we have structural problems that are going to be the demise of the country, and I think our deficit problems 10 years from now will overwhelm us, we shouldn't be saying, no, no, no. We ought to be offering alternatives, like Paul Ryan did on Medicare, and we should constantly do that. Republicans aren't going to win being against what the president is doing. We need to be against him in a principled way, but also advancing a positive agenda.
HANNITY: How would you deal with the president demagoguing Republicans, their plans is for dirty air, dirty water, I say that all the time. The Republicans, they want hurt. What are you going to say during this sequester, do you want to hurt poor children or disabled children?
BUSH: I don't think that's a winning issue anymore. I think that people are tired of that. What we have to be is positive and hopeful and offer an alternative. There are solutions to the problems we face, it doesn't mean we have to be supportive of the president's approach or supportive of the demagoguery that you describe, but we ought to be offering something more positive than just being against.
HANNITY: I think the Republicans have communications issues. I think they have -- they don't have disciplined messaging. I think the Democrats do because if the president says balance every Democrat --
BUSH: It's harder as the opposition party with disparate voices to speak with one voice and we haven't clearly done that. I kind of like Dan Henninger's idea that he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, which is to have a spokesperson be able to speak as though he or she, preferably she, was really the spokesperson --
HANNITY: Why she?
BUSH: Because I think we need to also recognize the world is changing demographically and that would be part of it. It's a signal sent that were inclusive, but irrespective of that, the fact is we should have one voice. We should be the loyal opposition and you know, a shadow government that advocates -- different views on health care, on tax policy, education policy ought to be the norm. And in fact, today didn't.
HANNITY: In this interview, though, I was surprised because you sort of left the door open a little bit for a tax increase as part of a big deal, but --
BUSH: I've never done that and to me that would be the very last option. I just think, I just I'm not big on signing pledges or I'm not big on, you know, saying that never, never, never. That's just not the right approach when we have huge problems. Our country should regain its footing. Our country is the greatest country on the face of the earth, but to assume that on the current path that we're on --
HANNITY: We're in trouble.
BUSH: We're in deep trouble.