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Jeb Bush to appear with Obama at Miami school

The bipartisan event Friday is meant to focus on President Obama's goal of raising U.S. education performance. Jeb Bush has been urged to run for president in 2012.

March 02, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — Jeb Bush will join President Obama in Florida on Friday for an event focused on education, the rare issue for which the president has earned plaudits from Republicans.

The White House announced details of the event Tuesday, saying it would focus on the president's goal that the United States should do a better job than its global competitors in educating its citizens to "win the future."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Bush and Obama at Miami Central High School, which earned federal funds through a program that supports improvement of persistently low-achieving schools.

Bush was at the White House just last week to see his father, former President George H.W. Bush, receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Bush would travel with Obama during the Florida trip.

Some Republicans, concerned about what they see as a lackluster field of candidates, have urged the former Florida governor to consider running for president in 2012. Family members, including brother and former President George W. Bush, have also said they would like him to would run, but he has consistently denied interest.

The White House hopes the joint appearance will bolster efforts to present Obama as a more centrist figure as they appeal to independent voters key to his reelection. It is the latest in a series of trips to 2012 battlegrounds — including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon — by the president since his State of the Union address.

That's not to say the entire trip will be bipartisan. While in Florida, Obama will also attend a fundraiser to benefit both Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election as well as the Democratic Party's efforts to retain control of the Senate in 2012. It will be his first party fundraiser since the November elections; he'll also raise funds for House Democrats in Boston next week.

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