Jeb Bush on 2016 plans: 'I won't be the last guy in'

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 2, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto from sunny Orlando, where, truth be told, it might be sunny, but -- but over 90 degrees, 150 percent humidity.

To Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is here, he's fine. He thinks it's OK. He's used to it.

Frankly, Governor...

JEB BUSH, R-FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I resemble that remark.

CAVUTO: I bet you do.

It's good to see you, sir.

BUSH: Nice seeing you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Thanks for coming.

What a great powwow.

BUSH: Yes, great idea.


CAVUTO: ... putting all of this up.


BUSH: Really smart idea.

CAVUTO: All on economic issues. It was all about money issues. We talked to a lot of ostensible competitors, sir, who want to vie for that Republican nomination.

Are you still keen on running for president?

BUSH: Well, I have got a decision I'm going to make in relatively short order. I won't -- if I go for it, I won't be the last guy in.

CAVUTO: No. There are about 20 before you.

BUSH: I have spent -- well, I certainly won't be the first in, but I won't be the last in either.

CAVUTO: What could dissuade you? What could prevent you?

BUSH: I don't know. Not much.


BUSH: I'm pretty excited about the prospect, but I just wanted to go through this in an orderly fashion.

CAVUTO: All right, now, part of the whole theme today in Orlando, for those who don't know or haven't been following all day, is the -- it's all about the economy.

BUSH: Yes.

CAVUTO: What would you do to reignite the economy? You talked about the reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit, get businesses going, essentially get government out of the way. That's big picture stuff.

BUSH: Yes.

CAVUTO: But what would you do specifically that you did as governor, that you can argue Rick Scott has done as governor, that you would do as president?

BUSH: I think reforming our tax code is maybe the highest priority.

It's going to be hard to do because there's a lot of entrenched interests, but lowering rates and eliminating as many as deductions as possible, dealing with this worldwide income issue that now is creating inversions of smaller foreign companies buying larger businesses and relocating them overseas.

Our regulatory system, I mean, a day doesn't go by where I have met people, small and large businesses, whether it's the EPA rule on greenhouse gas emissions or last week the waters of the federal government, these vast expanses of the federal government's power into areas that have never been intended that they should be a part of it.

The FCC, using a 1934 law, to regulate access to the Internet. Across the spectrum of the regulatory agencies, there needs to be a thorough review, putting men and women that understand, have expertise in the subject, and balancing our economic interests. That can be done without a lot of changes in law.

And I also think shifting as much power back to the states is another way to lessen the power of Washington. I think we need immigration reform to fix a broken immigration system and create a broader economic driver.

If you narrowed the number of people coming by family and expanded the number of people coming for economic purposes, it would be like having the first 500,000 first-round draft picks every year, and you could do that.  And that would not be a zero-sum game kind of conversation. You would create economic activity for everybody if you did it in a strategic way.


CAVUTO: Rules and regulations, you would start easing up on that.

BUSH: Yes.

CAVUTO: You might offer tax relief, that sort of thing?

BUSH: Completely, not might. I mean, you have to.

CAVUTO: OK, because one of the things that you did skip today in your remarks was Social Security.

Now, Chris Christie of New Jersey has said that we have got to means-test, we have got to raise the retirement age. Governor Huckabee went just the other way in his prepared remarks, saying that that would be a mistake and a death knell for any politician who tries it, that the system, when it comes to Social Security, is not broke, so there's no need to do that.

Where do you stand?

BUSH: Look, it's not as broke -- it's less broke, I guess, than Medicaid and Medicare, which will explode into our lives and create huge structural deficits.


BUSH: Social Security, I think we need to adjust it, because life expectancy has gone up. And...

CAVUTO: When you say adjust it, Governor...


BUSH: Adjusted by retirement age going up.

CAVUTO: Right. In the foreseeable future?

BUSH: No. That's the point.

The point about this that I think everybody has to understand is, if we're going to fix it for the next 50 years, we need to start working on it now and progressively raise the retirement age. But people that are near retirement or already in retirement, I don't believe there should be any...

CAVUTO: So, 10 years away from that?

BUSH: Yes, something like that.


BUSH: Look, I don't have a specific plan yet, because I'm not a candidate.  But...

CAVUTO: But you sure seem like a candidate. Now, we interviewed all the people who were invited today.

BUSH: I have -- look, I'm a policy...

CAVUTO: Look around here. Look around here.

Maybe we can take a look at this here.

BUSH: Home field advantage, brother.

CAVUTO: This is -- it might be home field advantage. But they think you are running.


BUSH: Most of these people are in the press. I don't know.

CAVUTO: Oh, really?

How many of you are the press? All right. One guy.


BUSH: They won't raise their hand.

CAVUTO: All right.

They expect, with all the money you have been getting and the campaign has been getting and the support you have been getting, that you're the guy to beat. Are you?

BUSH: Well, if I'm a candidate, I want to be the guy to beat. I'm not a candidate yet.

It will be a competitive field. There are a lot of really good people running. I think my record of accomplishment as governor of Florida is one that I can take to Republican voters and, if I'm successful there, to a larger audience.

CAVUTO: But does it...


BUSH: To say that...

CAVUTO: To think about it, it's been a while.

BUSH: Yes.


CAVUTO: I think 20 percent of Floridians have been born...


BUSH: It's been awhile since a governor has cut taxes every year totaling $19 billion. It's been awhile for a governor to have shrunk the work force by 13,000. It's been a while for many states to go to AAA bond-rated status. It's been awhile for the kind of prosperity that we had in restoring that based on practical experience.

CAVUTO: You know, your likely opponent Chris Christie, his bond rating has been cut nine times.

BUSH: Well, that's different than ours.


BUSH: Ours has gone up to AAA, while the federal government has gone down to AA.

CAVUTO: So, I just -- that wasn't a reference to Chris Christie, the bond rating thing.

BUSH: No, it's a reference to Florida.


BUSH: I'm a positive guy, Neil.


BUSH: I'm all in on that.

CAVUTO: Uh-huh.

Do you ever get a sense, Governor, that the way things are going right now, Florida, for example, it's you and Marco Rubio? The loser is done?

BUSH: Geez, you are so process-driven.

CAVUTO: I know, I know.

BUSH: A guy that has got such a big brain, is so focused on economic policy...

CAVUTO: And a big head, I know.

Do you buy that?

BUSH: That you have a big head?

CAVUTO: Well, no, no.


BUSH: No, I don't. I reject that.



CAVUTO: That's fine. It's been a long day.

BUSH: I reject that.

CAVUTO: I got it in at 3:00 a.m. last night, Governor.


CAVUTO: But, to that point, that this is your state to lose?

BUSH: I don't buy any of the horse race stuff. I -- just the -- this is a long process.

And if I become a candidate, I will win if I show my heart, if I advocate ideas that will give people a sense that they can rise up, and if I share that I have the leadership skills to make it so. The rest of this stuff..

CAVUTO: So, it's not a do or die for you? This is a winner-take-all stake.

BUSH: Yes.

CAVUTO: By that time, we would have apportioned close to half the delegates, most of them apportioned.


BUSH: I'm a competitive guy. I'm a competitive guy. If I become a candidate, my intention is to campaign everywhere and to win.

CAVUTO: Would you use your brother?

BUSH: Absolutely.

I will use my brother, my sister, every relative, every person I can. I think a campaign that's winning is inclusive, for sure. And I love my brother. That's a shock for people.

CAVUTO: That is a shock for people.


CAVUTO: Because it depends on the day with mine.


CAVUTO: Do you ever get a sense right now that this battle in Washington, as it's going back and forth with votes in the Capitol on funding of the NSA, how far government agencies can go, is dividing Republicans? There's the Rand Paul wing and pretty much everybody else?

BUSH: I'll tell you what. It is -- that's not the big divide. The big divide is how the Democrats have moved away from a traditional Scoop Jackson view, Sam Nunn view of national security.

While Rand Paul and a few others have expressed concerns about civil liberties -- and I respect that, although I don't see any shred of evidence that anybody's civil liberties are being violated. The great preponderance of people that want to overturn the Patriot Act are on the left.

And we need to restore -- give people some room in the Democratic Party to be strong supporters of defending the homeland again. I just -- I think we need to restore a bipartisan consensus on that. But the great majority of Republicans are supportive...


CAVUTO: On this. And you're right. The candidates, by and large, oppose whatever Rand Paul is doing.

But to this point, Rand Paul is saying, focus on getting the bad guys.  Don't do these mega just document dumps. And that's something that the Senate's voting on as we speak.


BUSH: If we were to go inside your e-mail, or go inside your cell phone and listen to your calls, or listen or see your e-mails, like the Russian do, the Chinese do, by the way, if we were to do that, I would think that would be a violation of civil liberties.

CAVUTO: Right.

BUSH: But if you have a metadata program where you're tracking calls of terrorists that you might have identified overseas calling into our country, and then you have to go to a court, a FISA court to be able to get a wiretap, that is how we protect civil liberties.

And I think part of the problem today is that everybody ends up getting their same set of facts...

CAVUTO: But we weren't doing that. We weren't doing that. We were bypassing them, right?

BUSH: No, no.


BUSH: And if there's any violation -- I have not heard of any -- if there is, then prosecute.

CAVUTO: Do you feel comfortable then, Governor, with let's say a Verizon collecting 120 million Americans' phone records?

BUSH: I would rather have the NSA do it, to be honest with you. But if it's to be the telephone companies, at least create a standard by which they keep the records for a certain period of time and in a certain fashion, so that...

CAVUTO: But don't you always get the feeling that, what are they hanging on to them for?

BUSH: Hey, well, make it 18 months or some -- make it some period of time, and make sure that you get the right information.

Right now, the law says -- the new law that -- if it passes -- that passed the House, just simply says that they have to keep business records.  There's no -- they may not even have to keep the records that would help us be safe.

So, it is possible that this could be -- end up being a disaster. It's still a work in progress. I hope the Senate has amendments that actually create...


CAVUTO: And those votes, to your point, sir, are ensuing as we speak.

I do want to touch a little bit on what the other side is saying. Martin O'Malley is saying that Hillary Clinton, I guess, is not left, or liberal, or anti-business enough.

BUSH: Wow.

CAVUTO: He says it still shocks him, after all this time, that a banker hasn't gone to jail, a Wall Streeter hasn't gone to jail post the meltdown.  Why aren't these guys in the hoosegow?

Do you think, if you were to become president, would you be aggressive, should you be aggressive in going after the financial types who many believe triggered the financial crisis and were never caught?

BUSH: If they committed crimes. If people committed crimes, fine.

We're in year six of the recovery, and if they have not been able to identify people that committed crimes, there may be a reason for it. I don't know.

CAVUTO: So, you wouldn't be on a witch-hunt at this stage?

BUSH: I think we need to get high-sustained economic growth back to the middle class, where people have a chance to rise up again, where disposable income grows, where take-home pay grows again.

That means we're going to have to grow at 4 percent, not 2 percent. That's what our focus ought to be, is to lift people's spirits with tangible changes in our economic policies.

CAVUTO: Do you think -- and your dad was famous for saying, of Ronald Reagan, voodoo economics to try to cut taxes and expect everything. He was proven wrong in that case. It did ignite economic growth.

BUSH: Yes. So, there's another example of Jeb being -- having a disagreement with a family member I love a lot.


BUSH: He was wrong about that.

CAVUTO: So, you would be open to regressive tax cuts, even if in the outset it might sink the deficit a little bit, with the hope that, like Reagan, it spurred things long-term?

BUSH: Look, if you -- we have a $1.2 trillion of so-called tax expenditures.

So, instead of just spending money, which Congress does pretty well, with the caps in place and all the other things that have been in existence off and on for the last 25 years, the new way of doing it is to create a tax deduction or a tax credit. And we have thousands of these critters.

If you shifted that down and let people decide how they want to invest, the simplicity of our code would unleash hundreds of billions of dollars of investment. And you don't have to have a supply-side beginning to get a supply-side result.

You can grow economy and you will generate revenue for government that pails by comparison to the most exotic form of taxes that the left can offer up. If you were growing at four percent, the revenue for the government at the federal level...

CAVUTO: It would probably be a moot point. It would be a moot point.

BUSH: Completely.

CAVUTO: The president, real quickly, sir, had said today, take a look at what has happened under my stewardship. Jobs are booming. The economy is better. Look what I inherited. Look where things stand.

I think he was talking about your brother and saying, we are now the most respected country on Earth.

BUSH: Yes, I saw that interview. It's breathtaking. It's like our president is living in an alternative universe.

Median income is down in the sixth year of recovery. Disposable income for families is down. Work force participation rate is lower than it was 30 years ago.


BUSH: People just have given up. And he's saying that things are better.

You know, look, it's just not true.

CAVUTO: I take it you do not agree.

BUSH: Mark me down as no on the subject.


Governor Jeb Bush, thank you very much. It's fair to say you got a slightly bigger crowd than some of the others, but very good seeing you, Governor.

BUSH: And welcome to Orlando.

CAVUTO: Yes. Let's just cool it down a little bit, take away the humidity, and it could be perfect.

BUSH: It's paradise, brother. That's what it is.

CAVUTO: Yes, I guess.

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