ATLANTA -- Presumed 2016 contender Jeb Bush on Thursday played down talk that he's seeking to raise as much as $500 million by this summer for his budding presidential campaign -- even as he stopped here for two more big-money events.

Some Republican donors are saying that Bush faces mounting expectations to raise at least $100 million in the first quarter of the year, and as much as $500 million by June either for his super PAC, Right to Rise, or his eventual campaign.

"Oh man," he said when asked about the speculation after an appearance at the Georgia State Capitol. "This is like -- next week it'll be 'He's going to raise $1.5 trillion.' It's like Dr. Evil or something. I'm going to raise as much as I can. I have no goals, and hopefully we'll do well."

Bush visited the chambers of the Georgia State House of Representatives and Georgia State Senate on Thursday morning, making brief remarks to legislators and posing for pictures with dozens of admirers. He also met briefly with Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

But Bush is also raising money while he's here: He held a fundraiser at a downtown social club Thursday morning where guests had to give at least $1,000 and he's attending a dinnertime event where the minimum donation is $10,000.

Having just completed a five-state tour, Bush said he's been enjoying his travels as he ponders a run -- and needled reporters for suggesting he was out of practice after a 13-year absence on the trail campaigning for himself.

"I love the description of 'end is near, 'in the lions den' like I'm a Christian in the Roman Coliseum and the lions were just released," he said. "As I said, I've got a record and I want to share that record with people and I want to share the joy of love of this country that if we fix these things and it'll be the greatest time to be alive."

Bush visited he Capitol on an especially busy day: He was in the building at the same time that rapper and actor Ludacris was being honored by lawmakers for his foundation. The two crossed paths briefly outside the House Chamber and posed for a picture.

"Never thought @Ludacris would be my opening act!" he said via Twitter while congratulating him on his foundation's work.

As lawmakers here weigh legislation on religious freedom and medical marijuana, Bush weighed in on both.

"Religious freedom is a serious issue, and it's increasingly so, and I think people that act on their conscience shouldn't be discriminated against for sure and there should be protections," he said. "As it relates to marriage equality that may change, the Supreme Court may change that, that automatically then shifts the focus to people of conscience that out of their faith may want to act on their faith and may not be able to be employed, for example or may not want to provide services for a gay wedding. People I think have the right to do that just as we need to be respectful of people who are in long-term committed relationships. Sorting that out is important."

On medical marijuana, Bush said it's an issue that should be decided on a state-by-state basis.

"Medical marijuana done appropriately -- which is to take the chemical content of marijuana and apply it to people who have these unique, discrete illnesses -- is more than appropriate," he said. "But if it's a step towards legalization of marijuana and open recreational use of it, there ought to be a debate about that before you just kind of step off the cliff because there are significant health consequences of that."

This story has been updated.