Jun 7, 2015 11:37 AM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
PORTSMOUTH – One week before he’s expected to launch his presidential campaign, Jeb Bush paid an impromptu visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state Sunday, greeting customers at Breaking New Grounds Café in Market Square.
The former Florida governor is spending the weekend in nearby Kennebunkport, Maine, as the Bush family gathers for the former first lady’s 90th birthday.
“The Barbara Bush foundation is having three or four events this weekend culminating with her birthday on Monday, Bush said in an exclusive one-on-one interview with NH1 News.
Bush took a short break to hop over the border to the Granite State.
“My wife and I like to go to Mass and might as well go to Mass when you’re within striking distance of New Hampshire. Do it here. We went to a beautiful church here in Portsmouth and the priest lifted my spirits. Started off the day kind of in a good place,” Bush explained.
Bush is expected to announce a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination at a speech a week from Monday in Miami, Florida. His first stop after launching is New Hampshire.
“I’ll make my announcement and in all likelihood I’ll be in New Hampshire that night, late, and then we’ll start the day, the first day of a possible campaign. I’ll make the announcement a week from Monday but my expectation is to be up here,” Bush said
“This is the first in the nation primary. It has a disproportionate say in weeding out the field for sure. So it’s really important. And it a great place to campaign for someone like me. I’ve got a passion for service. I get to tell my story. People can challenge it. This is the way to campaign. Get outside your comfort zone. I don’t think we should be campaigning in little protective bubbles and in New Hampshire you can’t do that. You have to be out amongst people,” he added.
Asked if the “protective bubbles” comment was directed at Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, Bush said “no. I just think there’s a lot of caution in politics. There’s a lot of carping on the sidelines and any mistake that you make, everybody goes nuts about it. And I think the way to campaign, to learn, to show your mettle and to tell your story is New Hampshire style.”
Prominent GOP activists Renee and Danny Plummer stopped by Market Square to say hello to Bush. While they remain neutral right now in the race for the Republican nomination, Renee said she’s impressed with Bush.
“There’s a lot of great candidates out there, but he’s just natural. And you probably wouldn’t think of him being natural as the son of, the brother of, a governor. You would think he’s more of a politician, but he’s not. You can see him, when he’s with people, when he’s with children, with families, it all comes out of him. This is a family man,” Plummer told NH1 News.
About a half an hour before Bush arrived, GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul was greeting customers at the nearby Roundabout Diner. It was the last stop in a jam-packed three day swing trough New Hampshire for the Republican senator from Kentucky.
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