CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Former Florida Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush told a few hundred Republicans here that they can help fix Washington by electing a "principled, centered" conservative like GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Cory Gardner.
Bush, echoing former President Bill Clinton's pitch for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall earlier this week, framed the election as a chance to mold the country's future.
“This country can lead the world," Bush said. "That’s what this election is about. It’s not about the past it’s about the future, and we can mold the future together by electing principled, centered conservatives.”
Bush, who only spoke for five minutes at a rally where almost the entire GOP ticket took the stage, went out of his way to take a jab at Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he'd likely face if he were to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
"This last week, I saw something that was breathtaking, a candidate -- a former Secretary of State," Bush corrected himself, "who was campaigning in Massachusetts earlier this week where she said don’t let them tell you that businesses create jobs.
"Well, the problem in America these days is that not enough jobs are being created. They are created by businesses."
That remark drew boos from the crowd of roughly 400 people gathered inside a barn at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
But Gardner himself, who took the stage last and clearly represents the party's best shot its first big statewide win in 12 years, elicited a surge of energy and enthusiasm from the crowd.
"He’s grassroots, high energy, he’s young – he’s just got a lot going for him," said Paul Glaser, a Republican from Highlands Ranch. "People trust him, I think.”
After riling the crowd up with a call-and-response cheer, Gardner asked supporters to work hard on behalf of Republicans over the final five days of the campaign, underlining the urgency by reminding them that winning is no guarantee in a state where Democrats have dominated for more than a decade.
"We are running out of next elections," Gardner said. "We are running out of time to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.