Jeb Bush might be different than his brother

This week while (unofficially) campaigning in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush put some distance between his policy beliefs and those of his brother’s administration.

“Are there differences? Sure,” Bush told a group of local chamber of commerce members and state political leaders. “In Washington during my brother’s time, Republicans spent too much money. I think he could have used the veto power to bring budget discipline to Washington, D.C.

This is exactly what fiscal conservatives want to hear, as well as many New Hampshire voters.

“I think New Hampshire is probably the most fiscally conservative state in the country,” said Steve Duprey, a member of the Republican National Committee from New Hampshire. “I think those of us who admired Bush 43 felt the debt — the explosion and doubling of the debt — was not good for the country, and I think it’s smart for him to say he disagreed with that approach.”

Some of the most pointed criticism about the expected GOP presidential candidate has been about the lack of expressed differences between the former governor and his brother.

Jeb Bush received a great deal of flack after commenting on George W. Bush’s decisions regarding Iraq. When Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked if he would have invaded Iraq as well, Bush said, “I would have. And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

He later clarified those comments, but the damage was done. The Afghanistan and Iraq wars remain deeply controversial and unpopular with the American public. The idea of electing another president with similar views on defense and international policy alarms many.

Bush has struggled so far to be seen as independent of his family’s vast political legacy. Finding his own voice on issues will only help him as he prepares to announce his candidacy.

[Bloomberg] [New York Times] [Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]