David Bossie, president of Citizens United, says he was surprised when Jeb Bush's comment that immigration is an "act of love" was booed in New Hampshire recently, a sign of the challenge ahead of the former Florida governor.
"People actually booed Jeb Bush, which I was, quite frankly, not expecting," Bossie told Politico.
"He was very unpopular in New Hampshire, and that caught me by surprise ... it's not a good thing if you're part of the consultant class that are waiting in the wings for him to run, the Bush Industrial Complex that's out there."
The boos came when Donald Trump was speaking at the Freedom Summit
in Manchester, N.H., co-hosted by Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity, and paraphrased Bush's immigration comments for the conservative crowd.
Trump also said he was surprised by the strong reaction to the recent comments.
Bush made the comments
at an event honoring his father, former President H.W. George Bush, saying that while it is against the law to cross the border illegally, "it's an act of love."
The comments have proven controversial for the potential GOP presidential candidate, especially among conservative Republicans.
New Hampshire tends to support center-right candidates like Bush, but when former President George W. Bush was running in the GOP primary in 2000, he lost the Granite State to Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Bossie said that Bush was invited to speak at the Freedom Summit, but the group received no response. Other potential presidential GOP candidates, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas attended.
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