Sen. John McCain and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged Mitt Romney to make greater efforts to capture Hispanic votes in his battle with President Barack Obama.
Romney, who will be officially nominated as his party's presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday, must convince Hispanics and women that his self-proclaimed ability to improve the economy is "more important than other issues" McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said that Obama is gaining ground against Romney with negative ads in which the Republican is presented as aloof and out of touch, but he predicted that the situation will change over the next two months.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush told NBC that Romney "can make inroads (among Latinos) if he focuses on how do we create a climate of job creation and economic growth."
Surveys have found in recent months that Hispanics are more worried about the economy than about immigration, the issue that predominates in the electoral messages directed at them.
A recent Gallup poll found that 20 percent of Hispanics think that the most important issue in this election is unemployment, 17 percent said economic growth and 11 percent said economic inequalities, compared with 20 percent who emphasized immigration above the other issues.
"We've got to have a better tone going forward over the long haul for sure," the former Florida governor said. "You can't ask people to join your cause and then send a signal that 'you're really not wanted.' It just doesn't work."
Jeb Bush, younger brother of former President George W. Bush, is married to a Mexican woman and speaks fluent Spanish. EFE