Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headlined a forum Wednesday night sponsored by Americans For Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group based in Washington.
The discussion was part of a year-long series hosted by AFP called "Road to Reform," focusing on reforming the federal government by reducing spending.
Before the event, Bush mingled with the crowd, fielding questions about the health of his 91-year-old father who fell last week to voters who in the past had hosted his parents and brother at their homes.
But on the stage, the discussion was anything but light. The two-time Florida governor took aim at President Obama as well as Democratic presidential candidates for failing to address entitlement reform, which he said is at the core of the country’s budget deficit.
“We have to reform big programs that have been growing at an exponential rate, and that will require the kind of leadership we have not had in the last six years. This president has not even recognized this is a problem, well it is a 50 trillion dollar problem,” he told the roughly 300 person crowd at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester
When addressing entitlement reform, Bush repeatedly praised Congressman Paul Ryan’s efforts in the House. He also said federal bureaus need to be held more accountable, citing troubles in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the IRS.
Last month fellow GOP candidate Marco Rubio participated in a similar forum hosted by Americans for Prosperity. Bush will take to the campaign trail today in Lancaster and Gorham.