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Jeb Bush Says Gay Marriage Is ‘Distraction’ From Economy

Paul Zimmerman/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- On a three day visit to Taiwan, Jeb Bush said the economy is the number one issue in the United States, calling same sex marriage a “distraction” in the presidential campaign.

The former Florida governor made the comments at a question and answer session Friday after giving a speech at a foreign ministry agency in Taipei, according to the  Focus Taiwan News Channel. Earlier this month, in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts President Obama announced his support of same sex marriage.

Despite repeated comments that he’s not interested in the job, Bush — the son of one president and brother of another — is still high on veepstakes lists and this trip to Taiwan will do nothing to dissuade the vice-presidential chatter.

Bush got high marks from a Tampa Bay Times’ survey of more than 100 Democratic and Republican Florida political insiders. They say Mitt Romney should pick someone from Florida to be his number two, and that it should be Bush, not Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The former governor topped their list of the “strongest choice” for Romney with 36 percent of its participants—and 47 percent of Republicans—picking him as their first choice. Rubio came in fourth with 9 percent. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman came in second with 15 percent, 12 percent picked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Among Republicans, Rubio tied with Christie with 8 percent.

According to the Focus Taiwan News Channel, Bush advised Obama to stay away from partisan political issues and focus on the economy. He said the United States is “next in line” for a potential financial crisis and called for a plan for economic revival.

In his speech titled, “How to Restore Sustained Economic Growth in the United States,” Bush said a weak American economy will reverberate worldwide, and politicians should focus on economic growth, energy policy, immigration and education.

“A weakened United States economically means a United States that will pull back from its commitments around the world, that will not have the ability and the interest in being a partner for stability and for peace,” Bush said.

Bush also met with Taiwanese President Ma Yin-jeou Thursday and the president told Bush he spoke with his brother when he was elected.

“The day I was elected president four years ago, I received a congratulatory message from President George W. Bush, in which he also praised Taiwan as a beacon of democracy in Asia and throughout the world,” Ma told Jeb Bush, according to the Want China Times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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