- The Washington Times - Friday, January 29, 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday that he got the last word in an exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida during Thursday’s GOP presidential debate and that “you can’t cut and run” when pressure mounts.

“I thought the exchange with Marco Rubio was a good exchange, and that I got the last word in about the fact that you can’t cut and run,” Mr. Bush said Friday on “Fox and Friends.” “If you’re going to engage and garner the support, which is what leaders do, you should continue to fight through it. I thought that was an important moment of the debate.”

“I think you just have to be consistent with your views,” Mr. Bush said. “The point is that you got to believe what you believe and persuade people towards your cause. You can’t cut and run whenever the pressure mounts.”

“If it’s hard to run, imagine what it’ll be like to be president if you’re always worried about how people think about things,” he said.

Mr. Bush also said he’s advocated a path to “legal status” for illegal immigrants in the United States.

During the debate, Mr. Bush said Mr. Rubio “cut and run” from Mr. Rubio’s own efforts on a comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013 “because it wasn’t popular amongst conservatives, I guess.”

“You used to support a path to citizenship,” Mr. Rubio told Mr. Bush.

“So did you, Marco,” Mr. Bush replied.

“When you led the charge with the ‘Gang of Eight,’ I supported it [because] you asked me to,” Mr. Bush said. “I think it’s important for people in elected office to try to forge consensus to solve problems. There’s never going to be a perfect bill.”

“But when you didn’t do that, and you [asked] people to support, you shouldn’t cut and run,” he continued. “You should stick with it. And that’s exactly what happened. He cut and run, and that’s a tragedy because now it’s harder and harder to actually solve this problem.”

Mr. Rubio replied by saying that there’s not going to be any consensus on the issue until immigration laws are enforced, which Mr. Bush said he supports.

“The only way forward on this issue is to first bring illegal immigration under control, and until that happens, there’s not going to be any consensus on this issue,” Mr. Rubio said.

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