At least 10 potential Republican presidential candidates will test their messages and their appeal Saturday before an audience of Iowa activists, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won’t be among them.
Bush and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, both considering White House bids, aren’t coming. But Bush called Iowa Republican Chairman Jeff Kaufmann this week, and they spoke for about 20 minutes. Kaufmann said Bush seemed like he was going to participate in Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first caucuses.
Bush had a lot of questions, Kaufmann told reporters Friday, and talks about different places he could visit.
“We did not talk about issues,” the chairman said during a 20 minute question and answer session at a Des Moines restaurant.
Kaufmann tried to play down any controversy surrounding Saturday’s event. One of its chief organizers is Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa., who has stirred controversy with his blasts at illegal immigrants.
“He has reached out to every single candidate,” Kaufmann said. “This is an Iowa event.”
Most of those will are scheduled to speak are closely identified with the party’s more conservative wing. Speakers include: former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former business executive Carly Fiorina and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.