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Jeb Bush Says Romney Should Pick Marco Rubio as Running Mate

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jeb Bush gave an impassioned endorsement of fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, advising Mitt Romney to pick the U.S. senator as his running mate and describing Rubio as “the most articulate conservative elected official on the scene today.”

“Marco Rubio is my favorite [choice], because we have a close relationship,” the former Florida governor told Charlie Rose in an interview that aired on his PBS show Thursday evening.  “I admire him greatly … He speaks with great passion about American exceptionalism.  I think he would lift the spirits of the campaign and provide some energy.  Governor Romney is running a very good campaign right now and closed the gap and leading in some polls, but I think this would be an added bonus.”

In the wide ranging, hour-long interview that aired in parts Thursday morning on CBS’ This Morning and then in its entirety Thursday evening on PBS, Bush said Rubio has had enough preparation to be “one heartbeat away from the presidency” despite being a first term senator.

“Look he has more experience than Barack Obama had when he ran,” Bush said.  “And the practical experience -- he’s certainly got the intelligent acumen and fortitude to be a good president and I have a special place in my heart for him.  It’s hard to describe the pride I have for his incredible success and how he has moved in to the job of being a U.S. senator with humility, not trying to be an arrogant guy, to learn the trade if you will.  And people in Washington really admire him.”

Despite his lengthy and passionate backing of Rubio, Bush said there are “other great candidates as well.”

“[Ohio Sen. Rob] Portman, [Virginia Gov. Bob] McDonnell, [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie, [Wisconsin U.S. Rep.] Paul Ryan I think would be extraordinary so there’s a wealth of talent out there for sure,” Bush told Rose.  He added later in the interview that he “absolutely” supports Ryan’s controversial budget plan.

Bush said “under no circumstances” would he be on the GOP ticket himself.  However, he did leave a door open to a future White House run for himself saying he has “not made that decision” yet whether he wants to run for president during another cycle.  He said now was “probably my time” to run, but he doesn’t “fret” that he made the decision not to.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio