JILL COLVIN, Associated Press
EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Likely presidential contender Jeb Bush said Thursday the Senate should confirm attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch despite objections from many of his fellow Republicans.
The former Florida governor appeared Thursday night at a GOP “Politics and Pies” event on the eve of a gathering Friday that will bring together more than a dozen other potential and declared contenders for the nomination.
Lynch was nominated by President Barack Obama in November, but Senate Republicans have delayed a confirmation vote.
Bush said presidents should have the right to pick their teams, adding that Lynch’s confirmation would at least speed up the departure of current Attorney General Eric Holder, deeply unpopular with the GOP.
“If someone is supportive of the president’s policies, whether you agree with them or not, there should be some deference to the executive,” he said. “It should not always be partisan.”
In Jackson, Mississippi, earlier, Bush said he will make up his mind “in relatively short order” whether to seek the Republican nomination and is not concerned that several rivals have a head start in declaring their candidacies.
“I’m on a journey to kind of measure support,” Bush said. “Other people’s processes are not really that relevant to me. I’ll make up my mind in relatively short order. I’m excited about just the possibility of being in a position to consider it.”
In Concord, Bush took questions for nearly an hour from voters gathered at the Concord Snowshoe Club. One asked why two families are so dominant in presidential politics — the Bush family and the Clintons.
“I have enough self-awareness to know that that is an oddity,” said Bush, the brother and son of presidents. “It’s a serious question and campaigns need to be about the future, not the past.”
He also broke his strict diet, digging into a slice of blueberry pie.
Earlier, Bush attended a bill signing ceremony with Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in Jackson.
The law Bryant signed is based on a program created in Florida when Bush was governor. Mississippi will issue $6,500 vouchers for a small percentage of the state’s special education students. Families can use the public money to pay for private school tuition, tutoring or other education services outside the public schools.
Bush, while not a declared presidential candidate, has been campaigning like one for some time.
He said his family supports his exploration of a presidential bid.
“In a campaign, no matter if it’s running for governor or running for president or anything else, you’ve got to go earn it,” Bush said. “You’ve got to go earn people’s respect and persuade people that your ideas are better, that you have leadership skills to make it happen. You’ve got a heart for people. Those are the things that matter. Who’s winning, who’s losing? Who cares?”
Pettus reported from Jackson.
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