Former Gov. Jeb Bush has been all over the news in the past few days, weighing in on the presidential campaign and calling on the candidates to “offer a compelling alternative” to President Obama’s policies, rather than simply attacking him.

Most of the blog and media attention has focused on what he did or did not say about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but in an interview with Justin Sayfie, his former staffer turned online news aggregator, he talked about some of the things that set Florida apart from the rest of the presidential playing field.

“Republicans don’t normally talk about conservation and the environment,” he said. “But I think it plays well down here to do that.”

At least one candidate — Jon Huntsman — seems to have taken that notion to heart. Bush, a respected voice in conservative education circles thanks to improvements that began under his watch, also had a subtle rebuke for some of the recent rhetoric from presidential contenders (as well as some of Florida’s U.S. Senate candidates), who have called for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education and leaving the issues under its purview to state and local governments.

“Just saying you’re against Washington is not going to cut it in my mind,” he said. “I want someone who really understands that education’s not a federal policy, but it should be something of national purpose.”

Bush was mum, at least for now, on making a presidential endorsement, but has singled out Huntsman, Perry and Mitt Romney as viable contenders.

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