On Friday, October 23, Regent welcomed Republican presidential hopeful and former Florida governor Jeb Bush to campus for the university’s first Presidential Candidate Forum. He joined chancellor, founder and CEO Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson in the Regent Theatre for a stump speech, a one-on-one interview with the longtime 700 Club host and an audience question-and-answer session.
Bush spoke about his faith, his stand for life, his presidential campaign, the role of government, and returning the United States to a leadership role in the world. “We’ve lost our way in Washington,” he told the packed house. “We need to restore some level of integrity in government. The government shouldn’t be our master; it’s our servant. And right now, it doesn’t feel that way, does it?”
Moderated by Dr. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the event’s co-sponsor, the American Center for Law and Justice, the sold-out event was attended by some 700 guests. It also caught the attention of several national news outlets. Robertson says he was “very impressed” with Bush’s knowledge of a broad range of issues, calling the inaugural event a big success: “Our first Presidential Candidate Forum was tremendous. We had a lot of fun with the first installment of this ongoing series. The former governor and I talked about his plans for turning this country around, if he’s successful in his bid for the White House.”
Bush arrived at Regent as his poll numbers were falling and shortly after a “shake up” in his campaign team. But that didn’t stop the one-time Republican frontrunner from making a strong impression on those in attendance.
Bush insisted the U.S. needs to re-establish its role as a global leader and send a clear signal about America’s relationship with its greatest ally in the Middle East. “If I had to pick the one place to start, it would be Israel. It would be making sure that the world knows there is no gap between the United States and Israel,” he said to cheers and extended applause.
The university’s second Presidential Candidate Forum welcomed Ohio Governor John Kasich on Wednesday, November 18. His live interview and audience question-and-answer session also brought hundreds to campus, as the former congressman and current “head of state” shared his plan to reclaim “power, money and influence from Washington, D.C.”
Appearing at Regent just five days after the deadly Paris attacks, Kasich addressed the current terror threat to America: “We’re not facing a lone-wolf or a small group of people, but a group that’s intent on destroying our very way of life.”
These Presidential Candidate Forums are a special collection of events offered under Regent’s popular Executive Leadership Series (ELS). They offer White House hopefuls from both parties the opportunity to share their campaign platforms in a balanced, nondebate format.
Invitations have been extended to every current Republican and Democrat presidential candidate, with many voicing interest in participating. Regent is in active discussions with several campaigns about appearances between now and Virginia’s presidential primary on March 1.
“These Presidential Candidate Forums are an example of what our university does best,” Robertson insists. “They offer a platform for political ideas with a high level of discourse, while reinforcing that Regent is a leading academic center for Christian thought and action.”
Note: Regent University does not endorse any candidates for public office.
For tickets to an upcoming Presidential Candidate Forum on the campus of Regent University, call 757.352.4245 or visit regent.edu/candidatesforum.