Jeb Bush Makes First Trip to Iowa

Is the Bush name a liability? ABC's David Wright reports on Jeb Bush's weekend trip to the key caucus state.
6:01 | 03/08/15

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Transcript for Jeb Bush Makes First Trip to Iowa
Jeb bush in Iowa yesterday. His first trip to the key caucus state since he started hinting about 2016. It was an agriculture forum for gop contenders and ABC's David Wright was there. Reporter: He's no stranger to Iowa. Hey, you excited to be in Iowa. I am, I am. Delighted to be here. Reporter: But before he was the candidate's son or the candidate's brother. This weekend for the first time Jeb bush was in Iowa as his own man. A lot of people know me as George's boy or Barbara's boy or W's brother. All of which I'm very proud of. Reporter: His challenge now convincing the voters he's a step forward, not a step back. I want to win. I want our party to win. I want conservatives to win. Reporter: Is the bush name an asset or a liability in Iowa? Well, from the standpoint if you're known better than somebody else and the name is recognizable, it's very much an advantage. It's not like he has to go and introduce himself or spell his last name. Reporter: But that last name also comes with some baggage. Seven out of the nine people on his foreign policy team were people that advised his brother to invade Iraq. Reporter: At the Iowa ag summit, people listened politely as bush outlined views on immigration that may be a bit too moderate for this crowd. His only applause line was on the subject of barbecue. We'll be cooking Iowa beef and -- Reporter: But at his first meet and greet with actual voters at a pizza ranch, he showed he can connect. Yes, ma'am. Reporter: A beauty queen in a tiara asked about Alzheimer's disease. How many people here who have a family member that has dementia or Alzheimer's? Reporter: Bush handled it like an old pro. Your father ran on a kinder, gentler America. Your brother ran on compassionate conservatism. How would you sum up your message in a few words? When I get to that, I'll let you know. Reporter: Even in Iowa it's early days. Jeb bush is off to a start. For "This week," David Wright, ABC news, Cedar Rapids. Thanks to David for that. We're back with the roundtable right now and, Nicolle Wallace, I want to start with you, of course, you worked for Jeb bush in the past. You saw David Wright. Gave him pretty good review, mark Halperin gave him pretty good reviews yesterday, as well. Probably his most confident campaign performance yet but is facing a real uphill fight in Iowa. Yeah, David Wright made the exact point about what Jeb accomplished yesterday. He proved to everybody that he can connect, and I worked for him. I went to countless events with him, and he is always real in the room, always. There's nothing -- no manufactured emotion. There are no talking points. He writes his own talking points so I think that Iowa is a great place. I think Iowa gets a bad rap for having this conservative litmus test. That's part of it but also the most sophisticated political analysts in the republican party. They want someone who could win so you saw Jeb speaking right to that saying I can win. I want my party to win. I want conservatives to win. I saw him a few days earlier and was at his first meeting with voters just outside las Vegas a few days before this Iowa thing and I was really struck. I think he's been very unimpressive giving speeches, not good off the prompter or prepared text but in that room where he was speaking off the cuff and then taking a lot of questions from voters, he was loose and he was funny. He made -- took a few shots at the Clintons along the way. But was very -- was -- felt like as if he had not been off the campaign trail for as long as he had been on the campaign trail. Very impressive to me. Donna, if he can pull off this balancing act holding to his positions on issues like immigration and more to the center of the party, but still getting the nomination, that poses significant challenges to Hillary or whichever democrat gets the nod. Well, we all know how republicans run. They run to the right in a primary and then in a general election they pivot back to the center. He's not doing that. Well, can I finish, little journalist, over here? I need to give y'all Se tabasco. But there's no question that Jeb bush knows how to connect with voters. He's a conservative. He's not a moderate. He's a conservative and I guess I was impressed that I saw him stand up to those in the room who said, well, we want subsidies to continue to ethanol. No, we have to take a look at it. Let it be market driven. He still faces a lot of obstacles because I think what the conservatives are hungry for this session, this season is somebody who is a true, tried conservative that can win in a general election and Jeb bush might not -- That's going to -- sets out an interesting poll, mark Halperin. Who is going to prevail, the republicans who want a winner or the republicans who want purity? Jeb bush was an extraordinarily conservative governor of Florida. And there are a few issues on which he's out of step with some of the party, but I think people continue to overstate the extent to which common core and immigration will stop him from winning and electability is going to be a huge issue, but so is fund-raising, so is hiring staff and so is authenticity. The reason why so many of the Clinton people are worried about Jeb bush is his public authenticity does not make a good matchup for her. Privately she's a very authentic and accomplished person, but their public personas, their public performance couldn't provide a worst contrast for her. And he turned over all his e-mails on a server that you can read. It took seven years and not all of his e-mails. He still has a lot of them outstanding. By the way, I'm not even interested in Reading his e-mails. I don't want anybody to read mine. A couple seconds left before we take a break. Did Jeb bush re-establish himself as the front runner at this week? Scott walker had been making some real inroads. I think they're in the both top tier. What I notice mark is totally right about common core and immigration about being overstated. I think you guys remember the way bill Clinton was at odds with much of the democratic orthodoxy in 1992 and ran to the center and still was able to win. The bigger problem for the republican party, he is Jeb bush and the name, not just the way liberals don't like him because he's a bush but the fact that there are a lot of republicans who think I don't want to sacrifice the argument of having a candidate of the future, if Hillary Clinton will be the democratic nominee, we need someone younger who looks like the future who is not tied to all that bush baggage. You hear that among a lot of republicans who want to look at a Scott walker or a Marco Rubio or someone else who could just

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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