Jeb Bush: ‘I don’t know’ if Obama is a socialist.

When asked by Tucker Carlson in an interview for Esquire magazine if he considered President Obama a socialist, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) said, “I don’t know. Define socialism for me.” But then, after calling Obama a “collectivist” — a common synonym for socialist or communist — Bush said the he believed the word “‘socialism’ was a pejorative, and ‘didn’t help’ the GOP make its case.” Bush said further that he didn’t think that Obama would have been elected had he “been honest with Americans about his agenda”:

Bush would not answer the question of whether he agreed with the assessment of some congressional Republicans that the president is a socialist. “I don’t know. Define socialism for me,” he told Esquire magazine. “It’s a word… I believe he’s a collectivist. He believes that through collective action, through government, you can solve more problems.” He added that he believed the word “socialism” was a pejorative, and “didn’t help” the GOP make its case. […]

“….He made it appear like McCain was going to raise taxes, which was unfair, but there was no response back. When there was an ideological component, it was generally centrist or even center-right. Had he said what he was going to do as a candidate, (Obama) would have lost.”

Bush’s response appears to follow the lead of other prominent Republicans, like his brother former President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). In May, the former president declared that “the verdict is out” on whether Obama’s a socialist. And while RNC Chairman Michael Steele has refrained from labeling Obama a socialist, he — like Jeb — said that he viewed Obama as a “collectivist.”