HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) — Jeb Bush said Thursday that while his brother will join him on the campaign trail and his mother stars in a new ad, he remains wary of leaning on his famous family as he seeks to become its third president.
At a town hall meeting Thursday night, a woman carrying a photo of Bush’s father told him she was worried about his low poll numbers and asked him why he wasn’t spending more time talking up the accomplishments of either his father or brother.
“You can’t ignore them, because that’s weird, that’s kind of a strange thing,” he said. “You can’t over-rely on them either, there’s a balance.”
“I’m not running away from my brother or my dad but I know for a fact I’m going to have to win this because I’m running for president, and people need to have confidence that I have the skills to lead,” he said.
Bush said he hasn’t seen the ad featuring his mother, but that it will begin running on Friday.
“If anybody’s more powerful in my family than my mother, I don’t know who it is,” he quipped. And she was less enthusiastic a few years ago about another Bush run for the White House.
In 2013, she told NBC’s Matt Lauer: “There are other people out there that are very qualified and we’ve had enough Bushes.”
Asked later for details of when his brother would campaign with him, Bush said he didn’t know when or in which state they would appear together.
A WMUR/CNN New Hampshire Primary Poll released Wednesday put Bush at 10 percent, behind front-runner Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and tied for third place with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
When a voter asked Bush Thursday whether being insulted by Trump has made him a stronger candidate, he said no.
He said he gives Trump credit for not being ashamed of his success and for not being politically correct, but said the billionaire businessman goes over the line in insulting immigrants, women, people with disabilities and others. He said Trump’s criticism of him personally has not affected his campaign; instead he’s gained strength from tough questions from voters.
“The walking over hot coals part of this has been extraordinary,” he said.
For more on Campaign 2016, click here.
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)