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Dave Olson, Published October 31 2013

VIDEO: Jeb Bush tells Fargo crowd his family's fine, Obamacare a 'disaster'

FARGO - Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida and a member of one of America’s most successful political families, on Thursday gave a Fargo audience an update on his famous relatives and a rundown of political fixes he thinks America needs.

“Mom and Dad are doing well,” Bush said, referring to former President George H. Bush and George’s wife, Barbara.

He also mentioned his brother, former President George W. Bush, who he said is doing well at his home in Texas, where he is intentionally staying mum on the country’s current political situation.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Jeb Bush said, referring to the tradition many past presidents maintain of not bad-mouthing successors.

That reticence, however, did not extend to his own speech presented at a Voices of Vision luncheon held at the Ramada Plaza and Suites in Fargo, which was hosted by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

“Obamacare is a complete disaster,” Bush said, referring to President Barack Obama’s health care reform effort.

Bush said the program’s online rollout has been an international embarrassment, and he said the program is unworkable because it expects young, healthy people to sign up for something they don’t see as being in their own financial self-interest.

Bush said many of the country’s problems would resolve themselves if the nation refocuses on creating long-term growth.

“When growth slows down, the demands on government go up,” Bush said, adding that immigration reform would be one way to promote growth.

To start with, he said, lawmakers should take steps to make it easier to enter the United States legally than illegally.

“Immigrants are not a drain upon our country, they are an engine of economic vitality,” Bush said, adding that “national identity is not created from where you came from … it comes by embracing a shared set of values.”

Bush said other things the United States can do to improve its economic situation include:

* Approve the Keystone pipeline and opening more federal lands for drilling;

* Evaluate teacher performance on student performance, not how long teachers have been working;

* Simplify the tax system and lower tax rates.

Bush said the country needs the type of leadership his father displayed serving in the Navy during World War II and later as the 41st U.S. president.

He said his father, who at one time was the youngest pilot to serve in the Navy, was shot down during a bombing mission over the Pacific and was rescued by a submarine crew. Like many of his father’s generation, his dad didn’t talk much about his time in the service, or the things he and other veterans sacrificed for their country.

“We never heard about it. There was no talking about it,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555