In a calculated bid to make his case as the GOP's next presidential nominee, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush faces a grilling from Fox News host Sean Hannity at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week.
Bush has opted to field tough questions from Hannity at CPAC rather than taking his chances with the traditional speech in front of a potentially hostile audience at the annual forum, as he gambles that it will give him a better shot at explaining his views on conservative issues, according to Politico
"His brand of moderate conservatism is an awkward fit with CPAC's ideologically strident audience," wrote the website's Alex Isenstadt. "His political lineage is a sore spot for many attendees, particularly the younger and more libertarian-oriented."
Isenstadt added: "Then there's Bush immigration reform efforts and support for Common Core education standards: Both are deal-breakers."
Bush has angered conservatives
with his support of immigration reform and the Common Core State Standards Initiative, both of which could hurt his presidential chances.
Grover Norquist, an anti-tax advocate who is set to speak at CPAC in Maryland's National Harbor, said, "he needs to talk in a way that shows he understands this is a different Republican Party. That's what I think his challenge is. Somehow he's got to show that he's up to speed."
Norquist was referring to the fact Bush has not served in public office since 2007, and therefore, unlike other possible Republican contenders for the 2016 nomination, cannot prove his "conservative credentials" with his recent political policies.
"It's more of a challenge to lay out an agenda because he's been out of office longer than others," said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a leading conservative group largely funded by the billionaire donors Charles and David Koch.
Bush will have a 20-minute question and answer session with Hannity, a prominent conservative who has interviewed Bush several times on his television show, Politico reported.
Al Cardenas, a Bush adviser and a former chairman of the American Conservative Union, the organization that sponsors CPAC, told the political news website that Bush planned to "speak from the heart," adding, "He chose a format purposely that allows all the audience to spend the most time with him."
Most other White House hopefuls, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, will give speeches lasting 14 minutes, followed by question-and- answer sessions of six minutes, Politico said.
"Bush's CPAC strategy isn't without risks," wrote Isenstadt. "In not giving a speech in a high-profile conservative arena, he is ceding the stage to other candidates whose addresses will be crafted for the purpose of exciting the CPAC faithful.
"Increasingly viewed as the front-runner thanks to his prolific fundraising and high name ID, Bush may even find himself under attack from his potential rivals.
"While his opponents are unlikely to call out the former governor by name, their advisers say, they plan to highlight their strident opposition to Common Core."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.