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PHOTOS: George W Bush returns to spotlight to campaign for brother Jeb

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: February 16, 2016 18:20 IST
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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.

Republican US presidential candidate Jeb Bush (left) is joined by his brother former President George W Bush on the campaign trail for the first time in the 2016 campaign at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina. Photograph: Randall Hill/Reuters

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.

Republican US presidential candidate Jeb Bush waves to the crowd with former first lady Laura Bush and his brother former President George W Bush as they join him on the campaign trail. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters 

"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. 

Republican US presidential candidate Jeb Bush hugs his brother former President George W Bush as his former 2016 presidential campaign rival US Senator Lindsey Graham (left) of South Carolina and former first lady Laura Bush look on. Photograph: Randall Hill/Reuters

"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.

Republican US presidential candidate Jeb Bush  talks to his brother former US President George W Bush as they appear together. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters 

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.

Former US President George W Bush speaks about the presidential candidacy of his brother US Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters 

Please read: Exclusive! The JEB BUSH interview: 'We don't have to be the world's policeman'

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