updated 3/4/2011 9:20:11 AM ET 2011-03-04T14:20:11

Eager to show some bipartisanship, President Barack Obama is sharing a stage in Florida with Jeb Bush, brother of the former president whose policies Obama blames for sending the nation's economy spiraling into a recession.

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Obama and Bush, Florida's popular ex-governor, were to speak Friday at Miami Central Senior High School, one of hundreds of low-performing schools across the nation that have received money from the Education Department to help turn the school around.

Obama aides said Bush recommended the school as an example of how gains can be made through reform.

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Obama's bipartisan overture comes as the White House works through the realities of divided government following the Republican takeover of the House in the November elections. The president will need at least some GOP support if he's to pass any substantial legislation, including education reform, in the second half of his term.

Video: Is the government doing too much or too little? (on this page)

Rewriting No Child Left Behind
One of his education imperatives this year is to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, a signature initiative of former President George W. Bush.

Obama constantly assailed the president during his own 2008 campaign and often refers to Bush's eight years in office as a period of decline for middle-class Americans.

That frequent criticism didn't sit well with Jeb Bush.

In an interview last year, he said Obama's tendency to blame his brother's administration for problems, including the economic crisis, was "childish."

"He apparently likes to act like he's still campaigning, and he likes to blame George's administration for everything," he said at the time.

Education, however, is an area where Obama and Jeb Bush agree. Both support increasing the number of charter schools, tying teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests and setting high standards and accountability. They also believe education is key to invigorating U.S. competitiveness.

Obama has called for fresh spending on education in the 2012 budget he unveiled last month, saying that improving America's schools isn't an area where the government can cut back, even as Congress looks for ways to reduce spending and bring down the nation's mounting deficit.

The federal government has spent about $800,000 on Central Senior High School to help its efforts to turn itself around.

"America can no longer afford a collective shrug when disadvantaged students are trapped in inferior schools and cheated of a quality education for years on end," Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote in an opinion piece in the Miami Herald that previewed Friday's trip.

Despite sharing the spotlight with a Republican early in the day, Obama will wrap up his trip to Miami on a clearly partisan note. He'll headline two fundraisers for Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Is the government doing too much or too little?

  1. Closed captioning of: Is the government doing too much or too little?

    >> from washington, nbc news white house chief political correspondent and co-host of "the daily rundown." nbc news/" wall street journal " polls, let's run through them. first you asked is the government doing too little or too much? have what have you learned?

    >> for the first time in two years, joe , a marjority says the government needs to do now. 51% is a flip from basically all of last year. that number was a majority of folks saying government was doing too much and needed to let private businesses fill in the gap here.

    >> all right.

    >> what our pollsters pointed out, the last time the government needs to do more number was over 50% was right at the same time a lot of people were getting pessimistic about the economy. that's what we're seeing in this poll as well. when the economy gets trouble-to-some to folks, even more so than it has been, they want government intervention .

    >> the question is what do people want the government to do? you asked what the top priorities should be. what was the answer?

    >> not surprisingly it's jobs and the economy. you see there we have first and second choice as well. when you combine the first and second, a majority say jobs and the economy. joe , what's interesting here, there's basically two sets of voting groups out here. you have about 06% of the public saying jobs and the economy. you have about 40% all base republicans, saying deficit and spending is the number one issue. and, well, that is going to be a driver of the messaging inside republican party right now. swing voters are not saying that right now. what that has political consequences down the road.

    >> and how fascinating that health care down at 12%. you went inside republican primary voters. what did you find about the 2012 presidential race ?

    >> to borrow a line from john edwards about two americas, there's two republican primaries going on right now. you have your tea party republican primary and the establishment republican primary . about half of the republican electorate identifies with the tea party . among that crowd, huckabee has a huge lead. that's what gives him the overall narrow lead, 25-21 over romney . romney 's strength is among those who say they are not members of the tea party but call themselves republican. think of the country club republican , the long-time rej x -- registered republican. romney gets 32% from that group, that props him up. among tea party republicans, he falls behind newt gingrich . you have romney on one end of the spectrum. he has that core group. then you'll have this fight to be the candidate of sort of the outside corn servatives, the tea party , the libertarians, that crowd. right now they are sort of with huckabee. if he doesn't run, he feels like somebody who's not running, despite his weird denials every other day. that's going to be the fight. that's why you have a tim pawlenty putting out tea party videos. that's the space. you have one person in the championship game , that's mitt romney .

    >> i thought it was interesting in terms of the answer to this question, what is acceptable in terms of tackling the deficit? 81% supporting a millionaire surtax. 78% eliminating ear militias and 76% eliminating tax credits for oil and gas companies. the interesting one is the top one. it's something we don't talk about enough.

    >> none of those things touch the overall $14 trillion national debt .

    >> okay.

    >> they don't touch it.

    >> let me be really cynical here, joe , you'll love this. americans are always for doing things that don't hurt them.

    >> right.

    >> guess what? most americans are not millionaires. hey, millionaires tax? sure. that's not going to touch me. go right ahead. you ask them what before medicare? no, no, no, no. even a majority of tea party folks don't want any cuts to the medicare or the growth of social security .

    >> wait a minute.

    >> that tells you, that's the reality. i go back to something we said earlier, real entitlement reform is just not going to happen in the runup to a presidential election . anybody who thinks it is doesn't read a poll for a living.

    >> what was the old huey long quote? don't tax you, don't tax me, tax the man behind the tree.

    >> i think we have a divide day. isn't there something to be said for spreading the pain in the what? what am i missing? no one talks about it. clearly i understand everyone will have to give but that means everyone.

    >> joe 's right. when you see a millionaire surcharge, roll back the tax cuts for millionaires. it's a fraction of what would happen if we roll back the entire bush tax cuts .

    >> over the next 20 years, a great impact.

    >> no one wants to do that.

    >> which goes back to my point on afghanistan. the only way we'll get stuff done is if republicans and democrats stand shoulder to shoulder, take the heat together. if anybody cares about this country, we ought to think about doing that.

    >> i like that.

    >> last word to mike barnicle .

    >> why do these numbers indicate that it's a distinct possibility, two republican parties will have a tea party candidate for president, maybe, as well as a republican candidate for president.

    >> i don't think we're going there but i tell you this, our republican pollster, bill mcenturf. he said you ask why did somebody jump of off a cliff? and then you find out they were being chased by a tiger. the tiger in this case is the republican tea party . you can't imagine, i guess, a scenario where the tea party crowd is not happy. i guess you never know, let's see how the primary plays out. they are a huge force inside republican primary politics right now.

    >> chuck, thank you so much. catch chuck and savannah on "the daily rundown" right here at 9:00 on msnbc.

    >>> coming up next, an exclusive look at the new cover of "time" with rick stengel. keep it here on "morning

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