WASHINGTON -- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and other potential 2016 presidential contenders spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" meeting this weekend in Washington.
The meeting had the look of a presidential campaign rally and provided a conservative audience for some politicians to test the waters and their message.
"There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told the audience.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked the question, "If we are silent about the issues of our time, who will speak?"
But a lot of eyes and ears were waiting for Bush, a potential frontrunner with a familiar last name and a pragmatic reputaion, who wants to focus on solutions not party squabbles.
"We could focus on all of our disparate parts, all of our points of disagreement that conservatives have and never win again," Bush said.
After the 2012 defeat, the Republican National Committee concluded the party needed to come across as more inclusive.
That conclusion led Bush to make statements like, "Certainly social conservatives are a huge part of a winning coalition, which means we have to change our language to be inclusive but not abandon principle."
But those are fighting words to some in the conservative base who believe the word "inclusive" translates into squishy or moderate -- definitely not principled.
Yet in his interview with CBN News Bush said he is principled on traditional marriage, despite seeing the culture become more sympathetic to gay Americans.
"I think we can be respectful," he said. "We can be compassionate; we can talk about this in non-judgmental terms."
But he added, "Ultimately for our country's success traditional families are what are going to end up leading our renewal."
Bush grew up Episcopalian but converted to Catholicism when he married his wife. He said his faith really convicts him in one specific area.
"It informs me about the questions about the dignity of life more than anything else. I think life is precious from beginning to end," he said.
There's no doubt a Bush presidential campaign would tout a list of conservative credentials. But some questions linger such as -- will his support for comprehensive immigration reform hurt him?
His response: "We should deal with the millions of people that are here illegally to give them a path to legal status."
The family name may contribute to his reputation as a mainstream Republican establishment figure -- something critics say could hurt him in the GOP primaries if he runs.
Bush said he hasn't decided to run for office again, but if he does, "It will be based on what I believe and it will be based on my record, and that record was one of solving problems completely from a conservative perspective."
"I cut taxes every year," he said. "I shrunk the size of government. I acted on my core beliefs on social issues as governor. I will be able to, I think, manage my way through all the chirpers out there."
Those chirpers will no doubt get louder if Bush decides to run -- something he said he will really start thinking about next year.