House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and two former governors, Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, avoided the word Republican during the town hall meeting, The Washington Post reported. The three promised a "conversation" with voters around the country.
More than 100 people turned out for the event at the Pie-tanza Restaurant.
President Barack Obama was not off limits but criticism was muted. The three instead took aim at Washington and liberals.
"To candidate Obama's credit, he waged a 2008 campaign that was relevant for people's aspirations, whether you agree with him or not. It was not a look back, but a look forward," Bush said.
"I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia for the good old days in the messaging," he added, talking about the Republican campaign.