ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Jeb Bush held a town hall meeting at a VFW post in Colorado Tuesday, his first public campaign event in the state since announcing he was running for president in 2016.
The Republican candidate started out talking about his experience reforming government as governor of Florida and also discussed immigration issues at length. He also poked fun at fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump, implying that the poll frontrunner talks a good game but might not be able to back it up.
“I’m a doer, not a talker. There’s a lot of really good talkers running for president. And there’s one in particular I’m thinking of,” Bush said.
WEB EXTRA: Watch Tuesday’s Complete Town Hall Meeting
Bush also talked about a local issue with the small, friendly crowd made up mostly of veterans — “the well publicized cost overrun at the Aurora hospital,” referring to the embattled VA Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The hospital is millions of dollars over budget and years overdue.
He called the construction project an “unmitigated disaster,” and he promised as president he would get it finished.
“We need to finish it up,” he said. “You can’t just waste hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Bush spoke for about an hour in the meeting, and while immigration was a frequent topic, there was only a brief mention of Bush’s controversial use of the term anchor babies from a few days ago (which refers to children of illegal immigrants).
“I was talking about very narrow-casted system of fraud where people are bringing pregnant women in to have babies to get birthright citizenship,” Bush said. “I support birthright citizenship.”
Overall, Bush says Trump’s plan on immigration isn’t “practical.”
“Mr. Trump believes that you can just round people up, and that it’s an easy thing to do because he’s a successful guy and he’ll just have successful people do it and it’ll all work out,” Bush said. “Well, the cost of this will be extraordinary, it will disrupt community life.”
“It doesn’t embrace American values that I think should be respected.
Bush said as president he would allow the 11 million people that are in America illegally to apply for earned legal status.
Bush isn’t the only presidential hopeful stopping in Colorado this week. On Friday Dr. Ben Carson will speak at The Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs.