Jeb Bush refined his line of attack against Donald Trump on Wednesday, arguing the celebrity presidential frontrunner who is outpacing him in the polls is hardly the sort of Republican voters want in the White House.
"We're a conservative party, aren't we?" Bush said at a town hall-style event in Merrimack, New Hampshire. "Mr. Trump doesn't have a proven conservative record. He was a Democrat longer in the last decade than he was a Republican."
He rattled off a list of issues where Trump has changed his mind, including his support for a single-payer healthcare system most Republicans consider socialism, and painted him as a pro-government Democrat.
"Let's support someone where we don't have to guess where he stands," Bush said, citing his own record as Florida governor.
The aggressive new tone was something Bush's campaign seemed proud of, quickly cutting a video clip of the candidate's answer and emailing it to reporters
Bush emphasized the steep price tag of Trump's plan to deport immigrants in the country illegally and called Trump's language on the subject "pretty vitriolic" -- even suggesting it was un-American for Trump to want to deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of immigrants already in the country illegally. Bush has criticized women who come to the U.S. solely to give birth to "anchor babies."
It was Bush who brought up Trump's name after a voter obliquely referred to the celebrity rival. Bush said it was OK to name him, and called Trump the frontrunner.
The Donald himself was holding a town hall of his own at the same time in Derry, New Hampshire, about 10 miles away.
Meanwhile, Marco Rubio spokesman Alex Conant got in this on Twitter -- which looked like a jab at Bush but Conant said was intended only at Trump, who said incorrectly that Rubio planned TV ads against him:
Trump, meanwhile, joked at his Town Hall that attendees at Bush’s town hall were "sleeping now." Earlier, addressing the press, he bashed Bush, saying “I don’t see how he’s electable.”
He repeated his criticism of Bush’s remarks that the U.S. needs to show "skin in the game" in battling the Islamic State "one of the dumber things I’ve heard ever in politics."
Lesley Clark contributed to this report.