As anyone who has followed the 2016 race might guess, I wasn’t expecting much out of Mr. Bush’s town hall, which was held at 7:15 at Nashua Community College. I came away surprised.
The first thing that I immediately noticed when I arrived at the town hall was that it was being held inside of the college where they work on cars. It was a very different setting than the conference rooms and public forums that I anticipated.
Seats were set out around a stool where Mr. Bush was, I surmised, going to speak. I arrived about 25 minutes early. About 30 people were at the event when I arrived, which later expanded to about 80 by the time that the event started.
Like his fellow Presidential hopefuls, Mr. Bush did not sit down a single time during his event, which brings me to what surprised me the most: energy.
Mr. Bush arrived right on time and was, dare I say it, energetic. He came in and greeted the crowd. Right before the pledge of allegiance, he stood about five feet away from me, and occasionally moved around, as if he couldn’t contain his excitement for the town hall.
When he spoke, he would occasionally raise his voice, and when he talked about defeating ISIS and destroying them, Mr. Bush punched his right fist into his left palm. I was thoroughly surprised.
Mr. Trump, it seemed, was wrong about the energy with which Mr. Bush campaigned. However, Mr. Trump was correct about something else: Governor Bush seemed a bit obsessed with the businessman.
During Mr. Bush’s opening speech about what he would do as President, he mentioned Mr. Trump. When he responded to a question about helping modern day slaves in the United States, he mentioned Mr. Trump. When he answered a question about space, he mentioned Mr. Trump.
None of these mentions were necessarily long rails against the billionaire, but the large number of times Mr. Trump was mentioned, sometimes when it seemed completely unnecessary, shows to even the most casual observer that Mr. Trump is clearly on Mr. Bush’s mind, despite his denials to the opposite.
Even more than Mr. Trump, however, Governor Bush slammed the Obama Administration and Secretary Clinton. Calling them short-sighted and politically-driven, Mr. Bush shot blistering attacks at the Democrats.
While impressed with his energy and attacks on the political left, Mr. Bush unfortunately stumbles over his words quite often, detracting from his overall message. You’ve probably seen it in the debates: Mr. Bush has a point, but “ums” and pauses his way to his destination. It was the same in New Hampshire. While what he was saying was worthwhile, it got lost in the stammering way that he often expressed it.
Mr. Bush spoke and answered questions for well over an hour, then stuck around to meet everyone who wanted to shake his hand or get an autograph. I was able to meet him.
I came away surprised as to how Mr. Bush handled himself during the town hall and the energy that he brought. He was the opposite of how he is often portrayed, at least at the even that I attended. The next day, I went to the town hall of someone who is exactly how he comes off: Ben Carson.