Jeb Bush Says Romney Wins in Campaign Focused on Economy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney can win the Nov. 6 election if the campaign stays focused on the economy and not “the constant distractions,” said former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“I think Mitt wins when it’s about these big things,” Bush said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today, according to an NBC transcript. “Republicans really need to be disciplined to stay focused on: Sustained economic growth is our objective and here’s how we’re gonna do it and here’s why the president’s failed.”

Bush spoke in the run-up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, scheduled to start tomorrow. Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will introduce themselves on the national stage and try to build a lead over President Barack Obama.

Romney has encountered some of those distractions over the past few days, including his apparently joking reference to Obama’s birth certificate and the release on Gawker.com of financial information relating to investments of Bain Capital LLC, the private equity company he co-founded.

Republican Bush, 59, served two terms as the governor of Florida, leaving office in early 2007. His father, George H.W. Bush, and his brother, George W. Bush, are both Republicans and former U.S. presidents.

Education Policy

Bush will speak at the convention about education policy, which he said presents an opportunity for bipartisanship.

“The American political system has become so short-run in its nature,” he said. “And we need to be much longer term in our thinking and begin to solve problems.”

His brother, blamed by Democrats for the recession and slow recovery, won’t be attending the convention.

Jeb Bush challenged Republicans to take less doctrinaire positions on immigration and on raising revenue as part of a bipartisan deficit-reduction agreement. He said he thought Romney could reach common ground on revenue.

“He’s a practical person who’s had life experience based on solving problems,” Bush said.

Romney has ruled out using tax increases to reduce the deficit. Spending cuts are the only way to balance the budget, he has said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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