Jeb Bush Passes CPAC Test

National Harbor, MD – Let’s make one thing clear from the start, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will never be conservative enough for the majority of those attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference meeting this week just outside Washington, D.C. For the past two years they have backed in their GOP Presidential Straw Poll Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

But Friday it was time for Bush to speak to the CPAC gang and he did not pander he came out strong with a defense of his positions on immigration, education. Those are the two areas that most of the CPAC members find unable to support him on and they did not hide their opposition.

He was at times booed and at times cheered, in one of the more interesting speeches given at CPAC.

The boos came when he spoke on immigration, Bush, said the country “first and foremost” must secure its borders. At the same time, he defended his record of supporting in-state tuition and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants in Florida.

Bush maintained his support for the Common Core education standards reviled by some conservatives, but he also said the federal government shouldn’t be dictating education policy to the states.

He got cheered when he was very critical of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, accusing him of underestimating Russia, creating a void in the Middle East and failing to stand up for Israel. He called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill this coming Wednesday, which Democrats have openly critical of and threaten to boycott, as “very important.”

Prior to Bush’s speech, there had been some talk of a walk-out. The National Review reported seeing “scores” of CPAC attendees leaving as soon as Bush began speaking with protesters reportedly chanting “USA, USA.”

Despite the sign of defiance, the main ballroom was as packed for Bush’s talk as it had been for any other 2016 contender, including Scott Walker and Rand Paul. Bush’s comments attracted cheers from some parts of the ballroom, which was more packed than it had been at any other point in the conference, but was also punctuated by occasional heckles, including shouts of “Open borders!”

Bush received a standing ovation before and after his address, and a walkout by conservative activists did  not really hamper his speech. So, the bottom-line for Bush was he survived his appearance at CPAC and that at the end of the day was all he really wanted to do.




Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.