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Reid: Jeb Bush has ‘made a fool of himself’ on immigration


Paul Takahashi

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks with media after his tour of Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011.

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

Political America has been in a bit of an uproar over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s assertion in his new book that immigration reform need not include a pathway to citizenship.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid added his voice to the surprised chorus Tuesday, suggesting that Bush, once a leading voice in the Republican party for immigration reform, is embarrassingly irrelevant to the ongoing national conversation on the subject.

“His opinion on immigration is not evolving, it’s devolving. He keeps going backwards,” Reid said Tuesday afternoon. “I think he’s, frankly, made a fool of himself in the last 24 hours.”

Bush’s sentiments about citizenship for immigrants was an apparent backpedal for a figure who was seen as one of the most moderate voices in the Republican party on immigration.

Reid used to praise Bush for his input. But on Tuesday, he turned that praise instead to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, the outspoken immigration advocate of whose specific positions Reid has previously been sharply critical.

More recently, however, Rubio joined a group of bipartisan senators drafting an immigration bill, in the process endorsing the idea that certain undocumented immigrants deserve a pathway to citizenship.

“Frankly, on this issue, I don’t think Jeb Bush is a Florida leader; I think Marco Rubio is,” Reid said.

Senators are expected to unveil their draft immigration bill later this month.

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