The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Strangest Moments of Jeb and Barbara Bush’s Derry Town Hall

Derry, N.H. — “I really didn’t plan on this,” Barbara Bush said, introducing her son Jeb Bush to the crowd gathered for a town hall at a middle school here.

It was the first time the matriarch of the Bush family has hit the trail with her son since he announced his presidential bid, and her appearance — played in by the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” — comes as he is looking to reverse his fading fortunes and score a win in New Hampshire.

“Jeb is the nicest, wisest, most caring, loyal, disciplined, that’s good. Not by me. But he’s not a bragger, we don’t allow that, but he’s decent and honest. He’s everything we need in a president.”

Barbara Bush’s introduction kicked off an hour and a half in which Bush fully embraced the family name. “I’m part of the establishment because I’m Barbara Bush’s son. I embrace that each and every day. I’m proud of my dad, I’m proud of my brother, I’m proud of being a Bush.”

But it was also an hour and a half rife with some of the stranger and funnier remarks I’ve heard at a town hall. Below, the most entertaining moments of Jeb’s appearance in Derry:

  • “She’s not as great as everyone thinks she is,” Bush joked of his mom, who was evidently a major draw for attendees. “I jokingly say that when we were growing up in Midland, in Houston, that mom was fortunate not to have a child-abuse hotline available ’cause the discipline of learning right and wrong was her doing.” According to the Bush embeds, this is a regular part of Bush’s remarks.
  • “This year, the New Hampshire primary coincides with the Chinese New Year,” a man in the audience informed Bush. Apparently, this was a necessary precursor to asking a question about Bush’s foreign policy as it relates to China.
  • The next question only got better. “Our moose numbers are down about 50 percent this year,” a man began. The question, which was about global warming, concluded with the man handing Jeb a small stuffed-animal moose.
  • At one point, the smell of cigarette smoke overwhelmed the cafeteria venue. “Someone’s lighting up in the school,” Jeb said.
  • “I get home on Sundays and I go shopping and I love to look at all the labeling,” Bush told a woman who asked what he would do to make sure foods were labeled to allow people to avoid genetically modified foods, if they so chose.
  • A man declares, “Of the three candidates I’ve heard tonight . . . ” It’s 8:12 p.m. Welcome to the first-in-the-nation–primary state.
  • Jeb notices the Flower Man, a hippie-looking guy who has attended a number of town halls for various candidates and hands them flowers. “Flower Boy, welcome back,” Jeb tells him. “It’s nice to see you. I missed you. I feel offended that you haven’t come to any of my events lately.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Pelosi’s House of Pain

Not so long ago — as recently as the cover of the March 2019 Rolling Stone, in fact — they seemed like the best of friends. I'm referring to Nancy Pelosi and the members of "The Squad": Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and (not pictured) Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. They shared some good ... Read More

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More
Film & TV

How Seinfeld Mastered the Comedy Domain

I can’t say whether Larry Charles, Larry David, Alec Berg, Spike Feresten, and the rest of the brilliant writers of Seinfeld were students of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but they might as well have been. Fitzgerald supplied the best advice for sitcom writers: Start with an individual, and before you know it you find ... Read More