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Jeb Bush: I Rooted for Broncos ‘Because Peyton Manning Wrote Me a Check’

Don’t call Jeb Bush a pander bear.

The former Florida governor admitted to a South Carolina audience that he rooted for the Denver Broncos just days after they had defeated the Carolina Panthers. Bush hopes the Panthers fans don’t take their frustrations out on him in the upcoming South Carolina Republican presidential primary.

“I know that y’all probably maybe had some leanings toward Carolina,” Bush told a Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, audience on Wednesday. “I was for Denver, not because of the Broncos, but because Peyton Manning wrote me a check.”

Both Peyton and his brother Eli Manning maxed out their contributions to Jeb Bush. Their father Archie Manning had spoken on behalf of former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal before he dropped out of the race.

The Broncos quarterback gave $10,000 to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the last presidential cycle. His political giving heavily favors Republicans, especially ones running for office in the state where he went to college. Tennessee Senators past and present Fred Thompson, Lamar Alexander, and Bob Corker all benefited from Manning’s generosity.

Manning, who played the steady game manager on Sunday, enjoyed a better week than the candidate of his choice. Manning likely finished his career a champion in the 24-10 Super Bowl victory on Sunday. Jeb Bush appears far from finished after finishing fourth in New Hampshire on Tuesday. Should South Carolina voters cool to him the way voters in Iowa and New Hampshire did, Bush may join Manning in retirement.

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