On a three day visit to Taiwan, the former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, has said that equal marriage was ‘a distraction’ in the current presidential campaign, and it was economy that was the most important.

Mr Bush, despite his repeated statements to the contrary, is one of the Republicans most-tipped to become the vice-presidential candidate with Mitt Romney for the 2012 elections, at least in part because he is the son of one president, George H. W. Bush, and the brother of another, Mr Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.

He reportedly made the comments during a question and answer session that followed a speech at a foreign ministry agency in Taipei, according to local television reports.

He also said that Mr Obama should drop highly partisan political issues, referring to the latter’s recent endorsement of equal marriage, and instead focus on economic policies, in a lecture entitled, international community as a whole, Bush said in his speech titled “How to Restore Sustained Economic Growth in the United States.”

“A weakened United States economically means a United States that will pull back from its commitments around the world, that will not have the ability and the interest in being a partner for stability and for peace,” he is reported to have said in his speech.

According to US media reports, the former governor has been labelled the ‘strongest choice’ as Mr Romney’s running mate, with 47% of Republicans picking him as their first choice. Other favourites for the vice-presidential race include Ohio Senator Rob Portman, Florida’s Marco Rubio, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.