TAMPA _ Former Florida governor Jeb Bush used his prime time spotlight at the Republican National Convention Thursday to pass a symbolic torch to his party’s nominees, defend his brother, and urge the nation to rededicate its promise of an equal education.
“If we want to continue to be the greatest nation on the planet, we must give our kids what we promise them: An equal opportunity,’’ he said, opening the third night of the GOP’s three-day pep rally. “That starts in the classroom. It starts in our communities. It starts where you live.”
Bush spent most of his 15-minute speech focused on the need to reform education, an issue he has devoted himself to since he retired as governor in 2007. Working through the Foundation for Excellence in Education, he has pushed for expanding school choice and classroom accountability.
But before he began his prepared remarks, he said he had to get something off his chest – the defense of his brother, former President George W. Bush.
“He is a man of integrity, courage and honor and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe,’’ he said to loud applause. “So Mr. President [Obama], Mr. President, it is about time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies .. In the fourth year of your presidency, a real leader would accept responsibility for his actions and you haven’t done it.”