Game on: Bush vs. Rubio

For months, the two have studiously avoided criticizing each other, rarely — if ever — mentioning the other by name.

But on Thursday, Jeb Bush finally said the words: Marco Rubio. And he threw a few punches at his friend, longtime ally and Miami neighbor.

In a television interview, Bush framed himself as a leader, and Rubio as a follower. He also backhanded Rubio with the worst possible diss a GOP candidate could make — Bush compared him to President Obama.

“Look we had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing — new and improved, hope and change — and he didn’t have the leadership skills to fix things,” Bush said, a subtle but pointed reminder of the similarities between the president and Rubio — both skilled orators who sought the White House with just one Senate term under their belts.