MIAMI – During a three-day business trip to Taiwan, former Florida governor Jeb Bush advised President Obama and his Republican challenger to focus the 2012 election on the U.S. economy, and not to allow marriage equality to become a “distraction” in the run-up to November’s presidential election.
Bush, 59, said the United States is “next in line” to experience the type of financial crisis raging across a number of the nation-states comprising the European Union.
During a speech titled, “How to Restore Sustained Economic Growth in the United States,” Bush warned that a depleted American economy will have worldwide consequences. “A weakened United States economically means a United States that will pull back from its commitments around the world— that will not have the ability and the interest in being a partner for stability and for peace,” said Bush.
The Miami-based Republican insider was in Taiwan—officially, the Republic of China—to address foreign ministry officials. Bush, who served as Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, remains high on the list of potential vice presidential choices for the GOP presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, despite repeated protestations that Bush— the son of former President George H.W. Bush, and brother of former President George W. Bush—has no interest in the job.
In a Tampa Bay Times’ survey that was released this week, more than 100 Democratic and Republican Florida political insiders said that Romney should pick Bush as his running mate. A plurality of respondants—36 percent of total surveyed, and 47 percent of Republicans—called Bush the “strongest choice,” while Ohio Sen. Rob Portman finished second with 15 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie polled 12 percent, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finished fourth with 9 percent. Among Republicans, Rubio and Christie tied with 8 percent each.