Jeb Bush is laying out a comeback plan for his faltering campaign, downplaying sinking poll numbers while pitting his leadership record against rivals like Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton.
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In an exclusive first interview on board his campaign bus today, Bush told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that campaigning for president is "a contact sport."
"I've just got to go earn it," Bush said. "I don’t talk about the process because people don’t care about the process."
Bush said he plans to stick closer to his "comfort zone" by telling his story as governor of Florida in a positive way, holding up his record against his political rivals.
"I talk about how we can fix some really big complex things, and tell the Jeb story so people know that past could be prologue," Bush said. "[We] can’t just have another loud voice, or another person from one side of the Capitol to move to the other side without any proven record of experience."
Bush first took a shot at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, citing her record as a U.S. senator for New York.
"Hillary Clinton, in 10 years in the United States Senate; 3 bills that she sponsored became law," Bush said. "Wow, I want to run against Hillary Clinton and compare that record to my record of cutting taxes every year, balancing eight budgets, reforming schools, taking on powerful public unions, teachers’ unions, the plaintiffs’ bar and beating them."
Bush stood by his remarks attacking Marco Rubio at CNBC's GOP debate last week, saying he was cut off before being able to finish what he wanted to say.
"Should we nominate someone who doesn’t have a record of accomplishment?" Bush said. "Rand Paul shows up to work. He’s running for president."
Bush also responded to a PowerPoint presentation circulated between his advisers attacking Rubio's credentials, acknowledging that while they were compiling opposition research, he doesn't plan to personally review the paper.
"[Rubio] is a gifted politician and he is my friend," Bush said. "The point is he is elected to serve. We don’t need ambition to drive public service."
Karl informed Bush of a tweet retracted overnight by Donald Trump, in which he retweeted pictures depicting the Bush family with a Nazi flag, along with a picture of Jeb Bush dressed as a Mariachi band member.
Trump acknowledged that he himself retweeted the tweet, but did not see the perceived racist images and "does not condone it."
"He needs to stop tweeting at night," Bush said. "That’d be my advice for the Donald."
Bush, 62, said he sees people on the campaign trail who’re are "getting tired" of funny and insulting tweets, adding he believes his support will rise getting closer to the Iowa caucuses in February.
"People want to know who is going to sit behind the big desk, who is going to make the right decision, who had the leadership skills, the spine to say no when you are supposed to say no, and to say yes when you have to," Bush said. "There is always this process. There is nothing different this time than last time as it relates to help people go about this."