Jeb Bush Inadvertently Criticizes Haslam Priority

AP

NASHVILLE (AP) – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush inadvertently took aim at one of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's legislative priorities this year when the two appeared at an education forum.

Bush said Monday during the question and answer phase of the event featuring the two Republicans that as governor he relished taking aim at the bigger challenges, even if it meant facing stronger resistance.

"If it isn't controversial or hard to do, you probably needed to add a few more bales of hay on the truck," Bush said. "Bigger is better."

Otherwise, he said, the inclination is toward less sweeping agenda items.

"If you have legislature that's focused on pleasing the people who are there all the time, you're going to be worried about tweaking the workers' comp bill," Bush said.

Haslam, who this year plans to introduce changes to the way injured workers claims are processed in Tennessee, interrupted Bush with a laugh.

"Careful," Haslam said. "Quit preaching on about that one!"

Bush quickly changed analogies, instead saying lawmakers shouldn't cater to fringe groups like the "left-handed Albanian caucus."

"There's all sorts of little things you can focus on," Bush said. "I've found if there's a bigger focus on the big things, the little things don't get time."

Bush was effusive in his praise of Haslam's education initiatives after the event organized by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education.

"I'm a huge Gov. Haslam fan," Bush told reporters. "Tennessee's lucky to have him."

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