HUDSON, New Hampshire (AP) -- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told skeptical voters in an influential early-voting primary state that he would not soften his views on immigration to win the backing of conservative voters in his likely presidential campaign.
Bush, the brother of one president and the son of another, arrived in New Hampshire aware of his challenges in winning over conservative voters who see him as too moderate in his all-but-certain campaign for president.
Facing gentle questioning on Friday, the Republican challenged New Hampshire residents to spend time learning about the issues and avoid shrill partisan sniping. He said "facts don't matter" to some of his critics, adding that true leaders do not shrink from their beliefs for political expediency.
Opening a round-table discussion with business leaders, Bush immediately began with a defense of his views on immigration -- and a nod to his family's history here.
"My brother tried as well," Bush said, referring to George W. Bush's failed efforts on immigration. "We are in literally two decades of trying to move into the 21st century with an immigration system that makes sense."
Jeb Bush supported a bipartisan, comprehensive approach to fixing the nation's broken immigration system, which cleared the Senate. Under pressure from conservatives, support crumbled in the House, but Bush said he remains committed to finding a path for immigrants in the country illegally to find legal standing.