Interview: Jeb Bush Talks Romney, Obama, and Immigration

3. But what's remarkable to me is the racial polarization we've seen. Does it make you concerned that Gov. Romney's coalition relies too heavily on white voters and do you think his chances of winning could be hurt by a lack of diversity?

I actually think [Romney's] gap among Latino voters and Asian voters has narrowed since the debate. Among independent voters, Gov. Romney is consistently winning by 5 to 12 percent, according to the last polls I've seen. I think he is building a coalition that would allow him to win and to govern.

I think that the electoral dynamics have changed pretty dramatically since a lot of voters got to see an unvarnished view of Mitt Romney during the debates instead of an attack ad or a filter. Sixty-seven million people at least saw him in a way that was strikingly different than what their perception was. It just helped him enormously.

4. Looking back, and I know you have spoken to this point before, do you think he could have done anything differently to better appeal to Latino voters?

The primary may have created some challenges, but he has overcome them. I've seen polls that show the Hispanic vote narrowing statewide from 75-20 [in favor of Obama] to 30. [Romney] could get to a 35 percent number in the general election nationwide. And that used to be the threshold people said was critical for his success.

A lot of these turnout models the polls are suggesting don't take into account the dramatic intensity that is on our side. Proportionally, he might not have the same percentage as they did four years ago, even though there is a larger universe of voters of Hispanic origin.

5. You think Gov. Romney will win. Looking ahead to his first term, he said in the second debate that he will get immigration reform done in his first year in office. That's the same promise Obama made in 2008. Obviously they have different views on immigration, Romney has favored self-deportation and some more and he does not support a pathway to citizenship. What do you think of Gov. Romney's immigration policies and do you think he could get a bill done during his first year?

Actually, I think he has been cautious to not lay out plans with great specificity knowing that there is a real range of views on what comprehensive immigration reform really is. I think he is putting himself in position where he could lead the country to a consensus on this.

And I think he will, actually. I've talked with him at length about this. And I think that he is open to a comprehensive review of the policies and a set of reforms that would get broad support.

The interesting thing right now is that our political system is broken. If you ask the question whether this [country] needs comprehensive immigration reform, by two to one numbers a majority of Americans believe it would be helpful. And most believe it would be quite helpful for economic reasons, which are at heart of Gov. Romney's views on immigration, which is that it could be turned into a tool we could use to sustain high economic growth.

6. When it comes down to Congress negotiating an immigration bill, do you think that Gov. Romney is willing to be flexible about what's in there as long as there are certain parameters?

I do believe that. He has made it quite clear that he would work with congressional leaders on a solution for this rather than an executive order on this like President Obama did, which does not have legal authority.

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