MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — 90 minutes before the Iowa caucuses are scheduled to begin at 7 pm Central time, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is holding a town hall meeting at the members only Alpine Club in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Bush entered the packed 175-seat capacity event hall with a dozen television cameras jammed into a makeshift platform at 6:40 Eastern.
Former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg and former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsay Graham warmed up the crowd. “Are you ready for some real Presidential picking rather than corn picking in Iowa?” Gregg asked the crowd.
“I’m from southern New Hampshire,” Graham told the audience. “So this is what a crowd looks like!”
“Today, the process started,” Bush told the crowd. He also took on Barack Obama. “From the very beginning, he divided the country,” Bush said.
Bush criticized Donald Trump for insulting his way to the top and called Cruz and Rubio “back benchers.”
“I’ve learned from my mistakes, ” Bush added.
In 1980, Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush won the Iowa GOP caucuses. In 2000, his brother, former President George W. Bush, won the Iowa GOP caucuses.
The younger Bush’s prospects are not much better in New Hampshire, where the most recent polls give him anywhere from 6 percent to 18 percent support. The Real Clear Politics average of the four most recent polls put his support at 10.6 percent.
According to all the polls, Donald Trump holds a large lead in New Hampshire.
Bush is in a tough fight to claim the “establishment” mantle in New Hampshire. Two current governors–John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie of New Jersey–are running neck and neck with Bush to claim that spot. One poll showed Kasich in second place in New Hampshire, others show the three governors fighting to place either third or fourth.
Bush’s 90-year-old mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, is expected to campaign for him in New Hampshire next week. The primary will be held on February 9, a week and a day from now.