Former United States President George W Bush campaigned for his younger brother for the first time on Monday night, attending a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina along with his wife, former first lady Laura Bush.
The rally came after Jeb Bush’s most forceful debate performance of the campaign, when he pushed back on Donald Trump for attacking his brother’s national security record.
Ahead of South Carolina's pivotal Republican primary, former US President George W Bush praised the state's Indian-origin Governor Nikki Haley, whose endorsement is important to his brother Jeb Bush's flagging campaign.
Bush returned to the political arena after a seven-year hibernation, trying to enliven Jeb's flagging campaign and stop Republicans from backing front-runner Donald Trump.
He privately met Haley prior to his appearance in Columbia, South Carolina.
He praised the nation's first Indian-American woman to become governor. Haley's endorsement is highly coveted -- especially by the campaigns of Jeb, a former governor of Florida.
"Thank goodness our country welcomed her parents from India when they immigrated here in 1969," Bush said of Haley, who is yet to endorse a candidate for primary vote.
In his speech, Bush --the 43rd president of the United States –- took a dig at Trump.
"We need to nominate someone who can win in November, all the talk doesn't matter if we can't win. We need someone who can take a positive message across the entire country," said the elder Bush who is now 69.
"These are tough times and I know that Americans are angry, but we do not need someone in the Oval Office who mirrors and inflames our anger and our frustrations," Bush said making his first major political appearance after the end of his two terms on January 20, 2009.
"Strength is not empty rhetoric. It is not bluster. It is not theatrics. Real strength comes from integrity and character. And in my experience, the strongest person isn’t usually the loudest person in the room," Bush said urging South Carolinians to vote for his brother.
Jeb, who is said to be the first choice for the Republican establishment, is running behind Trump, and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
To continue to be in the contention for the Republican presidential nominee, he needs to perform better in the South Carolina primary on February 20.