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Romney silent on George W., but calls Jeb Bush a 'great leader'

November 01, 2012|By Maeve Reston

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — George W. Bush has been virtually silent during the 2012 election. He offered a public endorsement of Mitt Romney only after being caught by a reporter heading into an elevator, and has been silent about the reams of criticism lobbed his way by Democrats for the economic collapse of 2008.

But his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, wasn’t silent on that question Wednesday as he campaigned with Gov. Mitt Romney on Wednesday.

“Our country has huge problems, huge problems, structural problems that require people that actually solve problems rather than just talk about it or excuse away why it is that things aren’t working,” Jeb Bush said during a rally in Jacksonville on Wednesday evening. “You know President Obama was dealt a tough hand — we were told that; we hear this every day almost, if you watch TV. And of course, it’s my brother’s fault for everything that goes on,” he added, as the crowd booed in protest.

“It’s almost as if the dog ate my homework is the reason that we’re going through a tough time,” the former Florida governor said, speaking in front of a line of pumpkins and hay bales at a Jacksonville auditorium. “But let me tell you, Mitt Romney from day one, job one, will be able to restore the American economy.”

Romney had rarely mentioned George W. Bush on the campaign trail for much of this year, with the exception of a closed fundraiser in Jackson Hole, Wyo., with former Vice President Dick Cheney where he praised the former president's efforts to spread democracy across the Middle East.

In the closing weeks of the election, Romney used the third and final debate to distance himself from George W. Bush’s foreign and domestic policy. But on Wednesday night, he offered a hearty endorsement of the former Florida governor.

“Governor Jeb Bush — what a great leader,” Romney told the crowd to cheers in Jacksonville. “What a great man you have in Gov. Bush.”

maeve.reston@latimes.com

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