Jeb Bush
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush listens to a question at the Education Summit in New Hampshire REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he would murder the baby Hitler without hesitation, saying: "Hell yeah, I would!" The younger brother of former President George W Bush believed in taking the law into his own hands, explaining: "You gotta step up, man."

When asked on camera by the Huffington Post while out on his campaign bus in New Hampshire, the Republican 2016 presidential candidate realised there could be consequences to killing the future leader of the Third Reich but shrugged off doubts, saying: "It could have a dangerous effect on everything else, but I'd do it - I mean, Hitler."

The ethical dilemma was posed last month by the New York Times Magazine in a reader poll. Bush's stance puts him in agreement with most respondents to the survey (42% said they'd kill baby Hitler; 30% said no; 28% were unsure).

Some comments on Twitter took time to consider the matter seriously, in an historical context, saying that it would not have stopped the rise of fascism or anti-semitism. Others were more worried about Bush finding Supergirl an object of desire, with his comment "she looked pretty hot", rather than his nascent infanticidal tendencies.

The married father of three and convert to Roman Catholicism, says he is "probably the most pro-life governor in modern times".

"I believe in the sanctity of life and I don't think that's a surprise to anybody," he said. "It's been my view. I think life is innocent, life is precious."

In 2003, Bush unsuccessfully attempted to get the courts to appoint a guardian for the foetus of a 22-year-old developmentally disabled woman who became pregnant after being raped in a state-supervised group home.

The latest CBS News poll, released on 9 November, found Bush with 38% of Republican voters holding an unfavourable view of the former Florida governor. He is attempting to inject fresh vigour into his campaign. He spoke animatedly to an audience at a World War II museum in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, saying: "I feel like getting on top of a tank and charging somewhere".