A "poisonous political environment" muddles the debate on energy and climate, when people should recognize that carbon emissions in America are down, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said.
Bush said the climate is changing, but questions the percentage of human involvement.
"I think it’s appropriate to recognize the climate is changing and invest in the proper research to find solutions over the long haul, but not be alarmist about it," Bush said. "Not say 'end is near,' not de-industrialize the country, not create barriers for higher growth, not just totally obliterate family budgets."
Bush addressed climate as part of an interview Wednesday with the New Hampshire Union Leader. "Ultimately," he said, "there's going to be a person in a garage somewhere that's going to come up with a disruptive technology that's going to solve these problems and I think markets need to be respected in this regard."
America has less carbon emissions because of the natural gas revolution, Bush said. He called it a by-product of American ingenuity and innovation, and not due to any government program.
The current political climate is another matter.
Bush, a brother and son of two former Presidents, said a tolerant tone and substance are too often missing from leadership today in Washington.
"The political process works when there is some degree of tolerance for other people’s views you might not share," Bush said. "You’ve got to give people the chance to win along the way. It can’t always be, 'I win-you lose' every time. We’ve got to start solving problems."
The former two-term Florida governor said that, if elected President, he would work across the aisle to take on what he called the world’s most convoluted tax code.
Bush proposes simplifying the tax code, with reform starting with a goal of lower overall rates.
"My aspirations for the country, and I believe we can achieve it, is for 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see," Bush said. "Which means we have to be a lot more productive. Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families. That's the only way we are going to get out of this rut that we’re in."
Bush has said he is campaigning with "joy in his heart." In the interview, he said he is committed to winning by having an uplifting campaign. He ascribed that tone or style to former President Ronald Reagan, as well as former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Bush criticized President Barack Obama for the proposed, pending negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons, saying that U.S. leaders should not give up any leverage.
"This is the Clinton-Kerry-Obama foreign policy playing out," he said.
Bush underscored the importance of working with allies to wipe out Islamic terrorists and rebuild and strengthen alliances, starting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"We don’t have to be the world's policeman, but we have to be the world’s leader," Bush said. "If we're not leading, that creates chaos and a more dangerous world."
He also spoke of the need to rebuild the U.S. military.
Bush has proposed repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, calling "Obamacare" a jobs-killer for employer mandates for coverage. He supports a more consumer-driven, free-market health care system.
On immigration reform, a hot issue among Republicans and Democrats on the campaign trail, Bush said he supports "earned legal status" for work purposes. He proposed stronger border security, including use of surveillance and manpower directed strategically at the border. Businesses deserve a better e-verify system to ensure properly documented workers are hired.
Bush cited his time as a governor in proposing a strategy to combat drug abuse, including use of drug courts and expanded treatment to address the problem. It should not completely set aside the adjudication process, but "you’ve got to give people a second chance."
Bush noted that the first question asked of him at his first town hall meeting was about the heroin scourge.