Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) called himself a “practicing conservative” Monday night, saying he would put his record up against any Republican in Congress. 

The former Florida governor jokingly said he was being “attacked” when a moderator at a panel discussion referred to him as a moderate.  

“Look, I’m a conservative, and I’m a practicing one — not a talk-about-it one. I would put my record up against anybody that’s in Congress right now,” Bush said according to The Huffington Post


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has also pushed back against criticism that he is too moderate to win the GOP nomination in 2016.  

Bush, who is seen as more centrist than a number of other potential GOP presidential candidates, has been a fierce advocate for immigration reform. 

Bush said he has talked to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern MORE (R-Ohio) about it, and the Speaker is totally committed. 

"But he needs to find a way to get enough of the support,” Bush said. 

Boehner last week ruled out merging any bill passed out of the House with the Senate immigration reform bill passed earlier this year. 

Bush said immigration spurs the economy and people should not view it with hostility.

“If we have this narrow perspective of, ‘We’re not going to grow anymore and the pie is set and that’s it, so I’m going to fight for mine,’ we’re doomed,” he said. “That’s it. Our country doesn’t work well in a static kind of environment.”

Bush said he has not begun to seek advice about running for the Republican nomination in 2016. He cautioned about making a decision too early, saying there is plenty of time. 

“This is not the time for me,” he said. “This is the time for me to show a little self-restraint.”