(TAMPA, Fla.) — In a Republican convention that has yet to prominently acknowledge the party’s last president, George W. Bush, Bush’s brother, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, hinted to ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer that his brother would be a part of his speech on Thursday night.
“I may say something nice about him,” Bush said. “There’s a video of he and my dad that will be on tonight, I think. And there may be mention of him tomorrow as well at eight o’clock.”
Bush says he does not find it strange that his brother has not been mentioned in the convention hall and understands why his brother decided not to attend the festivities in Tampa.
“[My brother] knows that he will be a target. The president has spent a lot of time and energy around this notion that ‘I can’t do anything about it. It’s all Bush’s fault. You know I’m trying, but it’s not working because it’s Bush’s fault,’” Bush told Sawyer. “Now we’re in year four of a presidency, think back into American history, think of a president that is blaming his predecessor in the fourth year. So why encourage the bad behavior and I think my brother is smart to stay away.”
As for Tuesday evening’s speeches, Bush was extraordinarily complimentary about the performances of both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ann Romney.
“Beautiful, I mean just a spectacular speech,” Bush said of Ann Romney. “Governor Romney has been brought up … like I was, which was told never to brag, never to express yourself about your own feelings, to be always concerned about other people. I think that’s my theory because he’s uncomfortable with the personal side of this. … Ann Romney really I think can show who he is in a more personal level. It was the most effective description of Mitt Romney that I’ve heard ever.”
Bush also had tremendous praise for Christie.
“I thought he was very effective, now I’m biased, I love the guy. Think he’s truth-telling … and that’s nice because we have structural problems in our country that are serious and this election should be about big things, not small things,” Bush said. “I thought Christie actually gave the president a little bit of a break and talked about these big things in a way that was not kind of what people probably anticipated him going after the president. And I think that’s good too, I don’t think this ought to be a personalized campaign.”
Many in political circles have predicted that if Romney loses, Bush may run for president in 2016. But when asked by Sawyer his plans four years from now, he kept to the party line.
“2016, I will be working with pride for the reelection of Mitt Romney,” he said.
In order to be successful, Bush believes Republicans need to do a better job of reaching out to specific minority communities.
“The good news is that Latino voters and Asian voters, I would say, share many of the values that conservatives embrace about the family being the most powerful political unit in society, the need to reform education so there’s access to opportunity, small business driving economic prosperity, a strong national defense, all of these things, they are shared values,” Bush said. “But if you have a tone that says you know, we want your vote of course, but don’t join our team, you’re not going to get very far.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN