Huffpost Politics

Jeb Bush Leads Romney Campaign Effort To Hit President On Trade

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the biggest voice Mitt Romney's campaign is deploying to prebut President Barack Obama's Friday afternoon speech in Tampa on trade.

At the heart of Bush's argument is that while Obama may have signed Free Trade Agreements last fall with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, he held the deals up for three years before doing so.

"President Obama missed several opportunities early in his administration to secure quick passage of trade agreements with Colombia and Panama which together will create thousands of jobs here in Florida," Bush said in a statement sent out by the Romney campaign.

Bush charged that Obama "bowed to political pressure from powerful labor unions to stall these agreements," and that the delay cost "$1 billion in agricultural exports to Colombia alone."

On a conference call hosted by the Romney campaign, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and state Speaker-designate Will Weatherford all leveled the same criticism.

"People are very tired and I think exhausted of the speeches. They're tired of the talk. They want a president who's going to take action," Weatherford said.

Of course, Obama did eventually act to get the deals approved, after an agreement was reached on the amount of government assistance that would be given to American workers who lose jobs due to overseas competition -- an important provision for organized labor, which is one of Obama's key voting constituencies. Many Republicans have expressed skepticism about the efficacy of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

After his speech in Tampa, Obama will fly to Colombia for a series of meetings with Latin American leaders.

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