Bush gets campaign tips from audience in S’ville

Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush talks to the crowd during a Summerville Town Hall with Jeb Bush on Wednesday at the Summerville Country Club.

SUMMERVILLE — Jeb Bush didn’t appear fazed and didn’t mention Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of rival GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio as he stumped Wednesday at Summerville Country Club.

“She’s a great servant. I’m disappointed she didn’t support me,” Bush said of Haley, answering a question as he left.

Before a crowd of more than 200 people in the outdoor pavilion, Bush gave a variation of his standard speech, comparing his record to what he characterized as a lack of leadership among other candidates, touching repeatedly on military and veteran stances that earned the applause.

But the crowd was not as big as Rubio drew the day before at the nearby Dorchester Boat Club, one observer said.

The audience in heavily Republican and occasionally vehemently partisan Dorchester County quieted and sat back only when Bush called for a bipartisan approach and said partisanship is the problem in Washington today.

Maybe the most telling point came when two men in the audience offered advice when asked for a question, telling Bush to stick to his message and not let rivals’ attacks distract him.

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“I do,” Bush insisted, adding that there is more to leadership than bullying and that he was the most conservative reform-minded governor. “Donald Trump is not a conservative. He’s a bully. I will not take a step back for a guy who’s like he is,” Bush said.

A military veteran followed that by asking if Bush would be “a tough SOB like your brother.”

“I will be tough. I will be resolute. I will be clear. I will be determined. That’s what leaders are,” Bush replied.

Reach Bo Petersen at 843-937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.