A whole lot of people seem to think I endorsed Jeb Bush this weekend because I noted both that he is a friend and that he was the most conservative Governor in the country when he was there. Or at least in the late 90’s. I was not working from a script, but a lot of people before Bush spoke thought I was endorsing Perry too.
The fact is, Jeb was a very conservative Governor with better judicial picks than his brother as Governor or President. He also did a lot to reform education in Florida.
I knew the crowd at RedState could potentially be hostile and, in fact, there was an organized effort to boo Jeb Bush as he got on stage. I worked very hard to make sure people knew he was a friend and I hoped they’d listen to him.
But it was not an endorsement. I’ve said repeatedly that Jeb is not my first choice for President. I have told Jeb Bush that. But he was a guest and I did want him to be comfortable on my stage and I wanted the audience to be comfortable with him there. I also noted he and I have disagreements, but I thought he deserved the respect of the crowd for being there.
I personally introduced every Presidential candidate and most of the other speakers too. The staff of one of the candidates I introduced had emailed me less than 48 hours before that they did not want me to introduce their candidate because of something I had written on RedState. I actually had not written what they thought and assured them none of the candidates would get nothing less than a gracious welcome at my event.
I was quite pleased that Jeb Bush was there. I was quite pleased that Chris Christie was there. I was quite pleased that Rick Perry was there. I was quite pleased that [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] was there. I was quite pleased that all the others were there too from Huckabee to Rubio to Fiorina to Walker.
None of the candidates have my endorsement. But they have my friendship and kind words and appreciation for being there. Nothing else was intended or implied and I’m sorry anyone was left with the impression that I was endorsing any candidate.