Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR with a year-end gift today for 2 chances to win a trip to Aruba!
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0001Click on a photo to find stories by candidate:0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0002More Content:Our Voters Guide provides an overview of all you need to know about the 2016 N.H. Presidential Primary.Click here to explore a calendar of candidate visits and other Primary campaign events.Click here for our Money in Politics stories and data interactives.Visit our Where They Stand series for an overview of the candidates' positions on key policy questions.Visit our series Primary Backstage to learn about the people and places that make the N.H. Primary tick.To see NHPR photos from the campaign trail, visit our Primary 2016 album on Flickr.

Trump Is - At Least For Now - the Central Message Of Bush's Campaign

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Jeb Bush and Donald Trump speak at a Republican party event in Nashua, N.H. in April

Republican Jeb Bush was back in New Hampshire Thursday. The former Florida governor used a stop at Foss Manufacturing in Hampton to go after GOP rival Donald Trump.  Trump, of course, has been deriding Bush for weeks, but criticism of Trump – at least for now -- is a central message of Bush’s campaign.

  Bush tends to compare himself to a tortoise, slow and steady. Trump tends to ridicule Bush as low energy. At his Hampton campaign stop this week, Bush strove to cut a dynamic figure, and one committed to prosperity.

“If I’m elected president, I will tell you that I will wake up each day with passion and conviction to make sure that peoples’ pocketbooks are full of more money," he said.

But Bush was out to do more than just blunt Trump’s criticism. He took repeated aim at the celebrity businessman, his shifting views on health care, and on taxes – Trump has said the rich should pay more. Bush also cast Trump as someone whose politics prey on “fear and angst.”

“My belief is if we create the right climate, America is going to rise up and lead the world for the next generation of time," Bush said. "Donald Trump’s view is that the end is near.  His pessimistic view is let’s close the borders, let’s create tariffs, let’s do this, let’s do that, all based on negativity. “

Bush’s focus on Trump drew little reaction from the employee-only crowd at Foss. It also runs counter to Bush’s ambition to run what he’s described as a “joyful” race. But as Trump’s campaign has achieved front-runner status nationally and in New Hampshire, so too, apparently, has the pressure for Bush to respond directly.

University of New Hampshire political scientist David Moore says going after Trump isn’t a sure bet: "And I don’t think anybody, can really say for sure if that’s a better strategy or whether it would be better to simply ignore Trump and to continually present himself in the most favorable light."

There were indications that Jeb Bush was trying to do a bit of both in Hampton. Recall that Trump has criticized the bilingual Bush for campaigning in Spanish.

“So here I am a candidate for President of the United States, believing we should campaign con brazos abiertos, with open arms," Bush said.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.