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Bush pleads for town hall attendees to ‘please clap’

Updated

Just days before the nation’s first primary vote in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush appears to still be struggling to gain traction.

The establishment Republican candidate – once presumed to have an easy path to the GOP nomination – came in sixth in Monday’s Iowa caucus, netting 3 percent support. 

All the while, Bush continues plugging along in New Hampshire, fighting for voters drawn toward more establishment candidates such as Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. At a town hall event in Hanover on Tuesday evening, Bush again trumpeted his record as former governor of Florida — a theme he has often emphasized on the trail. He also worked to set up a contrast against his notably brash Republican rivals. 

RELATED: What happened to Jeb’s mojo? Can he get it back?

“I will not trash talk. I will not be a divider in chief or an agitator in chief. I won’t be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interests of this country — to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world,” Bush declared to the crowd Tuesday evening.

He was met with a long beat of silence.

“Please clap,” he pleaded, drawing applause and awkward laughter.  

At another point in the evening, the lights in the room abruptly turned off. Bush suggested someone accidentally leaned against the switch and asked for the lights to be turned back on, joking that he was showing leadership. 

Apparently the hotel was having issues with its electricity. The lights went off two more times during the event. 

—NBC News’ Jordan Frasier contributed reporting.

The presidential campaign: Jeb Bush
At the start of the Republican presidential primary race, former Florida governor Jeb Bush was widely viewed as the establishment candidate to beat.

 

Jeb Bush and New Hampshire

Bush pleads for town hall attendees to 'please clap'

Updated