Jeb Bush must have some pretty important friends running the show at CPAC, because he was given a prime-time speaking slot on Friday afternoon. Not only that, he also got almost thirty minutes to make his case to the crowd.
A crowd that, by the way, was surprisingly warm to Jeb. Speaking to some folks after the session, I got the sense that many attendees felt like the Bush campaign may have packed the crowd with folks from their own campaign. While Bush’s reception was much warmer than most observers expected – there were also some lusty boos to be heard. Booing is not something that often happens at CPAC, so to hear loud cheering mixed with raucous disapproval makes me think that Bush did sprinkle the house with dozens of his own supporters.
Whatever the case, Bush did not let the boos get him down. About 14 or 15 minutes in he even made a joke about hearing “Ooooo’s” (they were Boooos) in the crowd, and hoping that those folks would consider him as their 2nd choice. It was a cute way to try to win over a slightly antagonistic crowd and to a certain extent, maybe it worked.
CPAC organizers also made things easier for Jeb by making it an interview format instead of a straight speech. Sean Hannity did the interview, and while some of the questions were tough, Jeb is still for Amnesty, the Common Core, evolving on gay marriage and a host of other moderate-liberal positions that generally do not fit at CPAC.
You have to give the GOP establishment credit… they keep trying to find just the right moderate candidate to win these elections. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson after the failures of John McCain and Mitt Romney and we’ll not let the establishment pick our next Presidential candidate.
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