Jeb Bush's support for the Common Core curriculum will be the "biggest challenge" the former Florida governor faces as he looks to gauge his support among Republicans for a run for president in 2016, said GOP strategist Karl Rove.
Rove told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" that Common Core was originally designed by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, who served under President George H.W. Bush.
He said conservatives now had problems with the program because of how the administration of President Barack Obama had been "trying to push those (standards) down the throat of state and local governments and federal control."
"Common Core is, I think, the biggest challenge he faces. The question is, how can he defend high academic standards, which he believes in, when it has been conflated with the Obama administration," Rove said Tuesday. "Jeb's answer on how he defends this is going to have an impact on his standing with conservatives."
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Rove said the next "six to nine months" would show how adept Bush is at "articulating what (Common Core's) vision is, first and foremost, and, secondarily, defending the parts of those vision that might irritate some detractors inside the Republican party."
He said the next several months would also indicate "how strong a candidate he potentially is."
Another gauge is how skilled Bush will be at raising money for a presidential race.
Towards that end, Bush is forming a PAC
that will allow him to raise funds for a political campaign, Fox News reported Tuesday. Rove said the money the PAC must report would be a strong indicator of Bush's strength as a candidate.
"When it reports, people are going to have to look at that and say either 'Wow' or 'You know what? I'm not all that impressed,'" he said. "He's now going to have to demonstrate that he can raise substantial sums of money."
Rove said Bush was "raising the bar" for all potential Republican presidential candidates, because forming a PAC challenged others to show how adept they were at fundraising.
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