Politics and publicity opportunities make strange bedfellows. President Barack Obama and former Gov. Jeb Bush will appear together this Friday at Miami Central High School. Obama will be in town for a Democratic fundraiser but will swing by the school with Bush to address ways to turn around low-performing schools. Do we dare ask if the joint appearance will end in a hug?
Bush and Obama share little common policy ground, but they do have some overlapping views on education reform.
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Bush stands a bit above some of the pettiness of other members of his party and seems to respect the office of the presidency enough to publicly appear with the president for a cause he believes in, but it is a bit odd for a few reasons:
- We all remember the time Obama made a joint appearance with then-Gov. Charlie Crist in support of the stimulus bill. That meeting featured the man-hug seen around the state. Bush protégé Marco Rubio made the image a prominent part of his successful run against Crist in the Republican Senate primary. Bush supported Rubio, but Crist maintained it was only proper for a governor to appear with a president.
- Obama, of course, ran against the legacy of President George W. Bush, Jeb's brother, in his successful campaign for the White House.
- Jeb Bush has long been talked about as a possible Republican challenger to Obama in 2012, but time and time again, Bush has denied he'll run.
Obama has set out to create a more bipartisan tone in politics, but that task has been difficult in such a divided atmosphere. An appearance with such a high-profile Republican could be beneficial. Meanwhile, Bush has made education reform a top task even after leaving office and will likely use the chance to bolster the parts of his agenda that Obama agrees with.