Separating himself from much of the emerging Republican presidential field, Jeb Bush has declined an invitation to speak at a political event organized by one of Congress' most strident immigration critics.

A Bush aide said Wednesday that the former Florida governor appreciated the invite from Republican congressman Steve King but would not be able to attend the Iowa Freedom Summit on Jan. 24 because of a scheduling conflict.

More than a half-dozen potential Republican presidential contenders are set to appear, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Bush's absence is notable because of King's status as a conservative power broker in Iowa, home of the nation's first presidential caucuses.

Bush is one of the GOP's most vocal advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. King generally opposes such efforts.

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