'This Week' Transcript: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Powerhouse Roundtable

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about immigration. I think your book surprised some of your allies a whole bunch in there, but a lot of people focused on what seemed like a step back away from your previous support of a path to citizenship for immigrants who are illegally in the country right now. And-- by the end of the week, it seemed like you had worked your way back towards being open to it again. But Senator Lindsey Graham-- one of your allies in the Senate is working for a bi-partisan immigration reform was surprised. He said that-- your statements undercut what they were trying to do and only a bill that has a path to citizenship can get through the Senate.

BUSH: So-- Senator Graham and I talked. He was responding to-- concerns that were expressed before the book was actually published. I gave him-- he's gotten the book. He's seen it. And our-- in our conversation, I told him that I support his efforts and I applaud what he's doing. And-- he concluded, after he heard what the-- the thesis of the book is that we're in sync. We're on the same-- on the same path.

The basic premise needs to be that coming to the country legally should be easier with less cost than coming to the country illegally. And if you can create a system like that as is being discussed in the Senate and in the House-- through a path to citizenship, that's fine. But my guess is that will take a long, long time to achieve. In the interim, it's important to take people out from the shadows to allow them to have-- the dignity of being-- having legal status. In there we agree as well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And are you encouraged based on your talks with those in the Senate and the House that this can actually get done this year?

BUSH: Yeah, I am. I'm-- I'm very encouraged. There are some big sticking points about how do you deal with-- making sure that there's enough-- seasonal workers, temporary worker programs that have been quite successful in the past. There's a lot of people on the left that oppose that, but there's perhaps a way to make this economically driven.

The AF of L CIO and Chamber of Commerce have reached an agreement to kind of create a path for that. There's a lot of work being done, really good work, courageous work, 'cause this is complex and-- and may not be popular, but I think it's-- it is possible that comprehensive reform can be done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know-- you've done a lot of interviews this week, been out there a lot. The New York Times said it was-- a rocky week for you in your reentry into-- into national politics and I wonder if that's how it felt to you. And did it affect your thinking about a possible presidential run someday at all?

BUSH: I didn't-- I didn't-- I haven't found it to be rocky, but I'm not viewing this as a political reentry either. I just don't view it that way. I've been concerned about immigration-- and the positive aspects of it being-- put aside while we fight the political fight. And it's a very dangerous time for us to be doing that. And so with my friend Clint Bolick, we set out to write a book last year to lay out a conservative, positive agenda to regain our strength as a nation through embracing our immigrant heritage. And that was the purpose of the book. And-- I hope when people get-- actually get a chance to read it that they-- they see that that was the intent.

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