Jeb Bush is lashing out against the entitlement state—but he’s taking a page out of Mitt Romney’s book to do it.

During a town hall meeting in South Carolina last night, Bush touted Republican outreach efforts to minorities by taking a slap at the Democratic tendency to promise a lot of “free stuff” in return for votes. Unfortunately for Bush, however, Democrats (and some Republicans) were reminded of Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 attempts to reach out to a broader base.

Via WaPo:

“Look around this room,” a man told Bush, who spoke to a mostly white crowd. “How many black faces do you see? How are you going to include them and get them to vote for you?” asked the man, who was white.

Bush pointed to his record on school choice and said that if Republicans could double their share of the black vote, they would win the swing states of Ohio and Virginia.

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” he said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

Listen:

Was this the best strategy? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if Bush manages to maintain this narrative and not buckle under pressure, he could take it to the bank—at least with voters not already radicalized by progressive activists’ efforts. Hope and hard work and success is well within the scope of what the Republican party has to offer new voter demographics.

Plus, we have plenty of evidence that lining up for free stuff is well within the scope of what the Democratic party has to offer—and that strategy hasn’t done much to build up hurting communities:

h/t Mediaite

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller