SALEM, N.H. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is seeking to assure his supporters that he has a strategy to return to the top of the GOP presidential primary field.
“Patience, that’s my first part of the strategy,” he said Thursday during a town hall in New Hampshire, home of the first primary. “Second part would be more patience, hard work, a hopeful optimistic message, showing my leadership skills.”
Bush delivered this reassurance to a college-aged voter who said she’s disappointed Bush no longer leads the pack. Instead, that spot is now held by billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Bush, the son of a former president and brother of another, has become more fiery on the campaign trail as he seeks to outshine Trump.
Bush still maintains a substantial advantage in campaign cash compared to most of the field, although Trump is self-financing his own efforts and said he’s prepared for a long campaign.
“You campaign hard in early states, you organize, you identify people that support you and ask them to get five other people to do it,” he said.
Reiterating a familiar message of his campaign, Bush assured the crowd that he can run on his record of reforming schools, lowering taxes and challenging the status quo.
“I’m not going to be elected by being the third Bush running for president,” he said. “I’ve got enough self-awareness to know that’s the case.”
As he has for several weeks, Bush hit Trump for running a campaign based on “anger” and one that lacks policy specifics.
He wrapped up by playfully hitting Trump’s tendency to insult his opponents via the online platform Twitter. Bush told the crowd that during his appearance this week on comedian Stephen Colbert’s late night show, Colbert called Trump the “big, orange elephant in the room.”
“That’s humor, Donald, don’t tweet, please!” Bush said to laughs from the crowd. “He sits up at night to do this stuff.”