George W. Bush to make first appearance for brother Jeb

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WASHINGTON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Republican George W. Bush on Monday will seek to give a fresh burst of enthusiasm to his brother Jeb Bush's White House bid in South Carolina, marking the former president's first appearance on the 2016 campaign trail.

George W. Bush will appear with his younger brother at a rally in North Charleston, S.C., early on Monday evening, the Jeb Bush campaign said on Thursday.

The 69-year-old former president is highly popular in the Republican Party and particularly among South Carolina Republicans, who supported his 2000 and 2004 races for president.

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George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush (41 and 43)
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George W. Bush to make first appearance for brother Jeb
President Bush and and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, listen to the Gatlin Brothers sing their new song "Americans, That's You" during a dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
President George H. W. Bush and family
George Bush with family and brothers playing golf, from left are Prescott, William "Bucky", George and Jonathan in July, 1991. (AP Photo)
George H.W. Bush sits on couch with his wife Barbara and their children in 1964. George W Bush sits at right behind his mother. Behind couch are Neil and Jeb Bush. Sitting with parents are Dorothy and Marvin Bush. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Dec. 26, 2008 file photo, President George W. Bush walks with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. A criminal investigation is under way after a hacker apparently accessed private photos and emails sent between members of the Bush family, including both former presidents, according to reports Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
President George H.W. Bush pats his grandson Sam LeBlond, age 6, on the head as they head for Marine One the presidential helicopter, parked on the South Lawn of the White House, enroute to Camp David, MD., for the weekend, Feb. 8, 1991 in Washington. A secret service agent follows behind at left. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President George H W Bush takes a minute to have a quick private word with his grandson Jeb Bush Jr on April 1, 1991 in Homestead AFB, Florida, before boarding his helicopter for a flight to Islamorada, Florida, where he and Mrs. Bush will spend a few days of relaxation in the Florida Keys. The child flew with the president to Florida from Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President George H.W. Bush comments to reporters outside St. Ann's Episcopal Church on Aug. 13, 1990 in Kennebunkport, Maine. The president stands with his grandchildren Barbara, white dress, and twin sister, Jenna, left, and Sam, front. Bush is vacationing at his Maine home. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President George Bush escorts his mother, Dorothy Walker Bush, from Church service at St. Ann's Church, Aug. 20, 1989 in Kennebunkport, ME. The president is spending a three-week vacation at his home on the Maine coast with his family. Behind Dorothy is her grandson Jeb holding his youngest son, John Ellis Bush. Young man in suit on left is Jeb's eldest son George Prescott Bush. (AP Photo/J Scott Applewhite)
Vice President George H. W. Bush, center, poses with his family outside St. Anns Church, Sunday, Aug. 8, 1988, Kennebunkport, Me. The Bush family from left front row: Neil Bush, Pierce Bush, Lauren Bush, Dorothy Bush, and Ellie LeBlond. The rest of the children in the front row are unidentified. Second row from left: an unidentified woman, Laura Bush, Jenna Bush, George H. W. Bush, Dorothy Bush and Barbara Bush. Back row from left are: Jeb Bush, George P. Bush and Noelle Bush. The rest of the group is unidentified. (AP Photo/Herb Swanson)
George W. Bush, center, poses with his father George Bush and mother Barbara Bush in Rye, New York, during the summer of 1955. George W. Bush was born July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Conn. (AP Photo/George Bush Presidential Library)
President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, participate in a dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
** FILE ** George W. Bush, left, is shown with his father, George H. W. Bush in this photo from 1968 at Ellington Field, Texas. A recent attack on the war record of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in a commercial by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, has heated the presidential politics surrounding the military records of both Bush and Kerry. (AP Photo/Texas National Guard)
George Bush, one-and-a-half years old, is shown in this undated photo at the family summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP Photo)
Former US President George H. W. Bush shakes hands with his son, former US President George W. Bush's, during a dedication ceremony at the George W. Bush Library and Museum on the grounds of Southern Methodist University on April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. The Bush library is dedicated to chronicling the presidency of the United State's 43rd President, George W. Bush. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
President Bush, left, with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, right, outside the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Bush and and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, participate in a dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
President George W. Bush, right, stands with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, left, and his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, center, during a commencement ceremony at Texas A&M University on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Bush and his father, former President George H. W. Bush, arrive on the South Lawn of White House in Washington, Sunday, May 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
President George W. Bush waves as his father, former President George Bush, pilots his fishing boat Fidelity III off the coast of Kennebunkport, Maine, Saturday morning, June 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
President Bush shakes hands with his father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, after Easter church service in Fort Hood, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
President Bush, left, leaves St. Ann's Episcopal church with his father former President George H.W. Bush, right, on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006 in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
** FILE ** President Bush, right, and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, wave as they leave St. John's Church in Washington in this May 6, 2006, file photo. Through his presidency, President Bush has worked hard to avoid repeating the mistakes of his father. But having done almost everything differently, he now finds himself dug into the same hole - even though he did trump his father by winning a second term. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Sharing a light moment, U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, right, and George H.W. Bush, left, _ former political rivals _ meet with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office to report on their recent tour of the Asian tsunami devastation, at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2005. After the disaster, President Bush asked his father and Clinton, former political adversaries, to lead the American effort to raise private funds for tsunami relief. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Bush, right, is congratulated by his father, former President George H.W. Bush, at the end of the Republican National Convention Thursday, Sept. 2, 2004, in New York. President Bush's mother Barbara watches in the background. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Bush, left, and his father former President George H. W. Bush, right, arrive at Fort Hood, Texas to attend Easter church services Sunday, April 11, 2004. The Bush family visited the nation's largest military base Sunday to attend church services. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President George W. Bush, left, wraps up the holiday weekend with a round of golf with his father, former President George H. W. Bush, right, at the Cape Arundel Golf Club at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, Monday, July 8, 2002. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, and his father, former President George Bush, watch ceremonies before the start of a football game on Nov. 26, 1999 in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Former President of the United States, George W. Bush, throws out the first pitch as his father Former President George H.W. Bush looks on before the Texas Rangers host the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Former President of the United States, George W. Bush, embraces his father Former President George H.W. Bush after throwing out the first pitch before the Texas Rangers host the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Former presidents George H.W. Bush, left, and George W. Bush share a laugh during dedication ceremonies for the new George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)
Former presidents George H.W. Bush, left, and George W. Bush look over the crowd at dedication ceremonies for the new George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)
Houston, USA. 17th Nov, 2013. Former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, left, and George H.W. Bush ride onto the field before a game between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders where they served as honorary team captains for the Texans on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Houston. Credit: George Bridges/MCT/Alamy Live News
Former President George H.W. Bush smiles during a news conference with Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, Monday, July 21, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
George W. Bush, center, poses with his father George Bush and mother Barbara Bush in Rye, New York, during the summer of 1955. George W. Bush was born July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Conn. (AP Photo/George Bush Presidential Library)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Former President of the United States, George W. Bush, throws out the first pitch as his father Former President George H.W. Bush looks on before the Texas Rangers host the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
US President George W. Bush (L) waves as he walks out of the Oval Office with his father, former President George H. W. Bush, after Bush signed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 at the White House in Washington, DC, September 25, 2008. The “ADA Amendments Act” will help ensure that individuals with disabilities – including people with diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer – qualify for protection under the ADA and obtain reasonable accommodations. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President George W. Bush (C) looks back towards photogrpahers as he walks out of the Oval Office with his father, former President George H. W. Bush, after Bush signed S. 3406, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 25, 2008. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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South Carolina has a sizable presence of U.S. military facilities and military veterans who have supported the former commander-in-chief.

It will be the most public role George W. Bush has taken to date in his brother's campaign. Jeb Bush brought his mother, Barbara Bush, on the campaign trail in New Hampshire last week.

George W. Bush has headlined several private fundraisers for Jeb Bush and on Wednesday his voice was heard on a radio ad in South Carolina.

"We need a strong leader with experience, ideas and resolve. There's no doubt in my mind that Jeb Bush will be a great commander-in-chief for our military," the former president says in the ad.

Jeb Bush has drawn large crowds during his appearances in South Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday after experiencing something of a comeback with a fourth place finish in New Hampshire.

He has some ground to make up in South Carolina, however, with front-runner Donald Trump enjoying a big lead there ahead of the Feb. 20 primary vote.

At 6 p.m. EST, a Bush rally will be held at the North Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

"President Bush has been incredibly supportive of his brother's campaign and Governor Bush is excited to have him out on the trail," said Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell.

George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 remains a topic of debate in the race to find a successor to President Barack Obama, with Trump noting that he had opposed the war.

Bush's image has improved among Americans in the years since he left office in 2009. A CNN/ORC poll last June found that 52 percent of adults had a favorable impression of him, compared to about a third of Americans when he left office.

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