Jeb Bush: What has Obama done to 'fix' the economy?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 28, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: He has spent plenty of time in the White House. Jeb Bush has been the son of a president, he is the son of a president and the brother of a president. Many people think one day he may make his own run.

I talked with the former Florida governor last night. We started as the band was practicing for today. But I asked him about the man just voted the Republican Party's nominee, Mitt Romney. I started the interview by asking him what needs to happen at the convention.


JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: A great speech by Mitt Romney will set the stage for the fall campaign, not just about how the president has failed, which he has on the economic policies for sure, but also what the Romney-Ryan proposals are in a way that people can relate to.

BAIER: You know Governor, you've talked about reaching out to Latinos many times.
Do you think your party is doing an OK job at that?

BUSH: OK is about as good as I can say, to be honest with you. In the heat of a campaign it's difficult to do that. It's really the job of the Party to have this be an objective -- a high priority -- during off-election years, really. And I think you need to have Hispanic elected officials be the voice for this. Thankfully the Republican Party has been the party who has elected people like Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz this fall.

BAIER: You talked over the weekend about your brother and the president's efforts trying to kind of paint the economy toward your brother and blame him. Washington Post/ABC had a poll and they asked people about the economy and 54 percent said they still thought it was tied to President Bush.

BUSH: If you heard that message every day in the White House you'd probably begin to believe it. But the second point is, the president was dealt a tough hand -- no one is suggesting that he wasn't coming in to this presidency with tough economic issues. But what has he done to fix them? And I think that's where people begin to ascribe blame. And the constant referral back -- to constantly say look, it's not my fault, I have no ability to deal with this, is weakness. And we need strong leadership not weak leadership.

BAIER: Is there is a vulnerability that the Romney-Ryan ticket is going to really hit on as far as entitlement reform and tax reform?

BUSH: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think the selection of Paul Ryan is a leading indicator this is going to be an election about big things. The president would love nothing more to have it be about the small things on the margin. I think Governor Romney wins -- and may win with a better than expected margin -- if he talks about big things that people know need to get fixed.

BAIER: Education, you are slated to speak about education, still speaking about education, right?

BUSH: Yeah, I think so.


BAIER: It's an issue that is so important. And it doesn't get a lot of coverage. What about that?

BUSH: Well, because I think people correctly view education policy being made at the local and state level. That a president can be a partner with reformers -- governors and others -- at the state and local level. People don't automatically assume this is a federal program that will fix our schools. But it is something that I think needs to be of national purpose. It needs to be a national priority implemented at the local level. And this is where I think Gov. Romney has an advantage over the president, in terms of his understanding of that and being a good partner, since he was a governor.

BAIER: When I go around the country, the biggest thing I hear is why can't Washington work together?

BUSH: Me, too. It's unbelievable.

BAIER: So is there a time where it gets back from this partisan time that we have seen to something of let's get something done?

BUSH: Well, if you look at Mitt Romney's life experiences, it's been all about solving problems -- getting from point "a" to point "b" in the most efficient way, in a way that improves whatever it is he is working on. And I think as president, I would expect him to finds ways, creative ways to reach across the aisle and not just making the debating points, not just traveling the country doing speeches attacking opponents, but trying to find common ground. That is who he has been as governor and how he ran the Olympics and I would expect that to be the case if he is elected president.

The president has had two chances to prove this. One was after the historic election, right? Where he won because he was supposed to be about hope and change and different approach and he from get-go he did the stimulus and health care bill and poisoned the well. Then after the shellacking in 2010 he had another chance to do what Bill Clinton did in 1995, which was recast the order of things again. He didn't. He doubled down on this hard edged ideological approach.

And so he has abandoned the chance to lead. I think Romney can offer the leadership America desperately needs.

BAIER: You are clearly a major surrogate for the Romney-Ryan ticket. I know enjoy having you out and about speaking on their behalf from what I hear. When you look at the podium is there a little bit of you that says I wish I was giving the speech on Thursday?

BUSH: Not at all.

BAIER: Just a little?

BUSH: I'm comfortable with the life I have. My wife and I are living large in our beloved Miami and I'm working on the things that are important to me. I have a blessed life.

BAIER: Governor, thank you so much for the time.

BUSH: Thanks Bret. Thanks. Enjoy Tampa.


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