Mitt Romney needs a broader approach to immigration if he wants to become president, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Monday.
Speaking at a breakfast with Bloomberg View, Bush said Romney needs to think differently about his words and approach to immigration in order to better connect with Hispanic voters.
“He needs to broaden the message out when talking about immigration, to make it an economic issue as much as it is a question of the rule of law,” Bush was quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek. “Have a broader message and have a more intense message.”
Bush said the Republic Party put itself in a difficult position during primary elections, when candidates focused on improving border control rather than accommodating the undocumented immigrants already here, Bloomberg reported. With Democrats earning 67 percent of Hispanic voters in the 2008 presidential election, the GOP still has much improvement, Bush added.
Focusing on border control is important, Bush added, especially among audiences angry about the nation’s problems keeping illegal immigrants out. But by keeping his focus strictly on border control Romney put himself “in a box” and is now in need of a broader message, Bush noted.
It has become increasingly difficult for Republican politicians to break out of that box, Bush said. Yahoo News reported that Bush told reporters that in today’s climate, even Ronald Reagan would have a difficult time winning the ticket as any type of bipartisan action is seen as weakness.
Prior to his statements on Monday, Bush had endorsed fellow Florida politician Marco Rubio as Romney’s running mate, ABC News reported. Rubio, the Florida Senator, would give Romney the “most articulate conservative elected official on the scene today,” Bush said. Rubio is also one of the highest profile Hispanic politicians in the GOP.
In endorsing Rubio as a running mate Bush also effectively eliminated another candidate from the running for No. 2 on the ticket—Jeb Bush himself. He noted that he would not consider being named as a running mate.