Former Sen. Judd Gregg endorses Jeb Bush for PresidentBy DAN TUOHY
New Hampshire Union Leader
October 29. 2015 1:47PM
PORTSMOUTH – Former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg endorsed Republican Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on Thursday in Portsmouth, calling him the candidate with the best shot of winning the White House in 2016.
The high-profile backing from one of the most successful political leaders in modern New Hampshire history comes as the Bush campaign works to overcome a shaky debate performance on CNBC Wednesday night in Colorado.
It follows Bush cutting back on his campaign operations, including slashing staff salaries, and a refocus on the lead-off New Hampshire primary and other early states.
Gregg said Bush met three tests he uses to weigh a presidential candidate: That they can win, that they have substance and take on complex issues, and that they have experience governing.
“Governing is not done from anger,” Gregg said, standing on a stage before lobster traps outside of Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop. “You don’t stand in the corners and shout. You don’t accomplish anything doing that. Governing is done by working together in a system of checks and balances and leading, taking ideas and gathering people around those ideas and leading. Jeb Bush has shown that he knows how to govern.”
It is essential that Republicans choose a winner in 2016, according to Gregg. “We simply cannot tolerate four more years of the movement to the left, which is basically undermining the quality of life and our national security.”
Gregg, a former two-term governor, executive councilor and congressman, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992. He did not run for re-election in 2010. The son of the late Gov. Hugh Gregg, Senator Gregg was a key early supporter of Mitt Romney early in 2008 and 2012.
In his remarks during the brief endorsement ceremony, with the tidal Piscataqua River waters as a backdrop, Gregg said Bush has put forward sensible proposals on Medicare, Social Security and national security. More than 80 people squeezed into a small area to hear Bush and Gregg, not counting a large contingent of media.
“He has put forward more substantive thoughts and ideas on these issues than all of the other candidates combined,” Gregg said. “And they’re good ideas and they will lead America to a stronger and better day."
Local supporters sounded an upbeat note at Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop. "Jeb had a winning message," said New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, during an interview before introducing Gregg on stage.
The CNBC debate was an outlier, and the next 100 days to the first-in-the-nation primary will see Bush making inroads, according to Morse.
Bush thanked Gregg for joining his campaign, and pointed to New Hampshire's history of embracing fiscal conservatives.
"I appreciate the fact that they see in me kind of, maybe, they're looking in the mirror a little bit, seeing someone who actually has a proven record of success and doesn't want to talk about things (but) wants to solve problems," Bush said.