Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday took a strong step closer to announcing a bid for the presidency in 2016
, but GOP lawmakers are acknowledging Bush's lack of experience in foreign policy, according to Defense One
New Hampshire GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte said she was unsure of what Bush might stand for from a national security perspective.
"I don't know. I haven't heard what his views are on national security yet … maybe he's stated that, but I haven't been following him on foreign policy."
Ayotte said, however, that the transition from governor to commander-in-chief is a well-worn path.
"The bottom line is Ronald Reagan was a governor, too, so there's a long precedence of governors coming to the White House and being able to make that transition," she said, according to Defense One.
"So I don't think that that, per say, is a disqualifier, but I would want to know what his vision is — particularly on the pressing issues we have around the world right now."
But Ohio Sen. Rob Portman suggested that Bush's family background as son and brother of former presidents would have been enough to expose him to foreign policy and international relations.
"He's got a good background on issues domestic and international — he's got a pretty famous father who I'm sure early in his life taught him a lot about international issues," Portman said, according to Defense One.
"I think he's had a lot of exposure to it over the years."
Meanwhile, when asked about Bush, defense hawk Arizona Sen. John McCain said he would not make public judgments about the suitability of candidates based on their expertise on national security issues.
"I'm not telling the people they're qualified or disqualified by that issue," he said, according to Defense One, but suggested Bush's tenure as a governor provided sound experience to serve in the White House.
"I think he was a good governor and he has impressive credentials," he said, according to Defense One.
President Barack Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba may have given Bush an opportunity to demonstrate his foreign policy prowess on an issue that hits home with many in his native state.
Specifically, Bush has been vocal since the announcement in his opposition to lifting an embargo
with the island, a view that will likely resonate with many Cuban-Americans who identify as Republicans.
"The Obama administration's decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba is the latest foreign policy misstep by this president, and another dramatic overreach of his executive authority," Bush said.
"The beneficiaries of President Obama's ill-advised move will be the heinous Castro brothers who have oppressed the Cuban people for decades."
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