The Corner

Politics & Policy

Jeb Bear Hugs the Family Name

Bedford, N.H. — Jeb Bush has long been just “Jeb!” But in the days before the New Hampshire primary, he is embracing the Bush moniker.

“The Bush thing, people are just going to have to get over it, all right?” he told a packed crowd here this morning. “I am who I am.”

“I got no problems with this, and people that do, they either need to get therapy themselves or realize that we can change the course of this country working together to solve problems,” he added.

Bush, since the campaign began, has struggled to strike the right balance between talking about his love and respect for his father and brother and distancing himself from some of the more unpopular aspects of their presidencies.

On Thursday evening, Barbara Bush was at another event in Bedford to stump for her son, who had kind words for her here today.

“I won the lottery with Barbara Bush,” he said of his mom. Many voters would agree — a woman at the town hall today lamented the former first lady’s absence from the trail. (“She hasn’t seen snow in awhile. She got the heck out of dodge,” Jeb explained).  

New Hampshire voters, it seems, may be able to “get over” Bush’s last name. He is polling at around 10 percent here, in the running for second or third place. 

But there was one comparison Bush might not have loved this morning. While he was still outside talking to those who could not get into the packed venue — 200 people, according to the campaign, were barred from entering on the fire marshal’s orders — former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge made a Freudian slip introducing Jeb inside the venue.

“Now let’s talk a little bit about winning this primary and electing George Bush — we’re gonna elect Jeb Bush as president,” Ridge said.

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