Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush touted his political credentials in a New York appearance Monday night, calling himself a "practicing" conservative, but would not reveal whether he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
"I have not gotten advice and I have not sought it yet. There's a time to make a decision and you shouldn't make it too early," Bush said in a talk at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, reports Politico.
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"This is not the time for me. This is the time for me to show a little self-restraint," he added.
After moderator Thane Rosenbaum described him as a "moderate," Bush joked, "You just attacked me by calling me a moderate."
He added later, "Look, I'm a conservative and I'm a practicing one, not a talk-about-it-one . . . I would put my record up against anybody that's in Congress right now."
The two-term former governor pointed to his approach on issues, such as education reform and affirmative action, while in office as examples of his conservative views, according to Politico.
Bush, who was discussing his new book, "Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution,", also said he thinks the House will pass immigration legislation next year. He insisted that Speaker John Boehner was "totally committed" to the effort, reports BuzzFeed.
"I think there will be bills passed," Bush said. "It won't be one comprehensive bill. I think it will probably be in late spring, where there's a little bit of a window before the election starts in earnest. I hope so, I hope that's the case. I've talked to Speaker Boehner and he's totally committed to this, but he needs to find a way to get enough of the support."
For his part, Bush believes immigration policy should be seen as part of an overall economic strategy, telling the audience, "I think a lot of people view immigration as, by supporting immigrants, you're taking away from me. And I would argue the opposite is the case."
He continued, "If we have this narrow perspective of 'We're not going to grow anymore and the pie is set and that's it, so I'm going to fight for mine,' were doomed. That's it.
"Our country doesn't work well in a static kind of environment. Our country works well when it's dynamic and aspirational."
Immigrants, Bush added, "aren't a drain on that, they're actually a catalytic converter for sustained economic growth."
Bush also praised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for his role in the immigration debate, saying he "gets a lot of credit for kind of leading parts of the party towards" reform.
At the end of the discussion, Rosenbaum, a Fordham law professor, told Bush that he had earned a lot of votes during the night.
"Votes for what?" Bush responded.
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