Jeb Bush gets a brotherly hand from George W. in S. Carolina

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Pres. Bush: Strongest Person Isn't Loudest One

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) -- Former President George W. Bush came to the aid of his brother Jeb Bush's Republican presidential campaign in South Carolina on Monday with a rousing endorsement of his character and a call for voters to reject the angry bluster of Donald Trump.

The appearance of the elder Bush on the campaign trail may help Jeb Bush with South Carolina Republicans who hold the former president in high regard. But it also carries some risks, given his launching of the Iraq war in 2003, which ended up being unpopular with many Americans and which Republican front-runner Trump has seized on to criticize him.

George W. Bush, who has stayed out of politics for the most part since leaving office in early 2009, showed he remains an engaging speaker, generating cheers repeatedly over 20 minutes from the biggest crowd Jeb Bush has enjoyed in his campaign.

SEE ALSO: Trump releases statement threatening 'legal action' against 'totally unstable' Ted Cruz

Without mentioning Trump by name, the 69-year-old George W. Bush left no doubt he was talking about the New York billionaire who uses incendiary rhetoric at his campaign events.

"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," the former president said.

Real strength, he said, means facing challenges and prevailing.

See photos of George W. Bush campaigning for his brother:

15 PHOTOS
George W. Bush campaigns for brother Jeb Bush
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Jeb Bush gets a brotherly hand from George W. in S. Carolina
Former President George W. Bush campaigns for his brother Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, accompanied by his brother former President George W. Bush, center, and George's wife Laura Bush take the stage during a campaign stop Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush, meet with attendees during a campaign stop for his brother Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
North Charleston, SC - February 15, 2016: Former President George W. Bush embraces his brother Jeb Bush after introducing him to a packed auditorium of supporters Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 in North Charleston.
Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, accompanied by his brother and former President George W. Bush, right, speaks during a campaign stop Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
North Charleston, SC - February 15, 2016: Former President George W. Bush smiles as his brother Jeb recalls a story about their childhood Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 in North Charleston. (Alex Holt for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 15: Former President George W. Bush speaks in support of his brother, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush,at a campaign rally on February 15, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush campaign is seeking support in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is popular with the state's large military population, before the Republican primary on Saturday, February 20. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Former President George W. Bush campaigns for his brother Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Former President George W. Bush campaigns for his brother Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Former President George W. Bush campaigns for his brother Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Former US President George W. Bush poses with supporters after speaking with his brother and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush during a campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina, February 15, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, accompanied by his brother former President George W. Bush and George's wife Laura Bush, takes the stage during a campaign stop Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, shakes hands with his brother former President George W. Bush as Laura Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., look on during a campaign stop Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 15: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks after being introduced by his brother, former President George W. Bush, at a campaign rally on February 15, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush campaign is seeking support in South Carolina, where George W. Bush is popular with the state's large military population, before the Republican primary on Saturday, February 20. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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"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," George W. Bush said.

Whether the elder Bush's presence will help his 63-year-old brother in the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday remains to be seen. Jeb is running fourth in polls in South Carolina, behind Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Trump, at a news conference in Charleston earlier in the day, continued a stream of insults directed at the Bush family, insisting that the former president bore responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that took place on his watch.

"Excuse me, the World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush, right? It came down. That was the greatest attack in the history of the United States - worse than Pearl Harbor.... We weren't safe," Trump said.

George W. Bush offered some vivid imagery of what took place on Sept. 11 without addressing Trump's criticism and saluted U.S. military personnel, a key constituency in South Carolina.

In his first public campaign appearance of the year for his brother, George W. Bush also met privately with South Carolina's Republican governor, Nikki Haley, who has yet to endorse a candidate for the primary vote.

George W. Bush's standing has risen among all Americans since he left power in 2009 and he has stayed on the sidelines of his brother's presidential bid, headlining private fundraisers but otherwise staying off the campaign trail.

That he is getting out in public now shows the urgency Jeb Bush sees in a good performance in South Carolina. Bush finished in sixth place in the Iowa caucuses and in fourth place in the New Hampshire primary - the first contests in the state-by-state battles to pick a party nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election.

See more of the Bush family through the years:

31 PHOTOS
Jeb and George Bush through the years
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Jeb Bush gets a brotherly hand from George W. in S. Carolina
** FILE ** President George W. Bush, center, walks off the 18th hole with his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, and father, former President George Bush, left, at the Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport, Maine, in this July 7, 2001 file picture. Could there be a third President Bush? The current chief said Wednesday May 10, 2006 that younger brother Jeb would make a great one, too, and has asked him about making a run. The first President Bush likes the idea as well. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Bush, center, with former President George H.W. Bush, left, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, walk together after participating in the christening ceremony of the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush in Newport News, Va., Saturday, Oct. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, listens as former President George H. W. Bush offers condolences to the Ford family during a news conference in remembrance of former President Gerald R. Ford at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Armando Solares)
President Bush waves to the crowd with his wife, Laura, and brother Jeb Bush on Monday, Nov. 6, 2006, in Pensacola, Fla., where Bush was drumming up support for local Republican candidates. (AP Photo/Mari Darr~Welch)
President Bush, left, stands on stage with his brother Gov. Jeb Bush, right, at a campaign rally at Pensacola Civic Center, Monday, Nov. 6, 2006. in Pensacola, Fla. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Bush, left, spends a moment with his brother and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, prior to the President's speech on Social Security at the Pensacola Junior College, Friday, March 18, 2005, in Pensacola, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
President George Bush chats with brother Gov. Jeb Bush as they acknowledge cheering supporters at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Friday, February 17, 2006. (Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, right, gestures as his brother Florida's governor-elect Jeb Bush looks on during a joint news conference in New Orleans Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1998. The Bush brothers are attending the Republican Governors Association meeting which runs through Friday. A flood of media requests to interview the Texas governor and the Florida governor-elect prompted the sons of former President Bush to schedule a news conference Wednesday. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, hugs his brother, President Bush, left, after introducing him at a campaign rally at Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Fla., Monday, Nov. 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Bush jokes with his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday, Nov. 6, 2006, in Pensacola, Fla., where Bush was drumming up support for local Republican candidates. (AP Photo/Mari Darr~Welch)
Former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, center, is joined by his sons, former U.S. President George W. Bush, left, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as he speaks to reporters after his parachute jump with the Army Golden Knights parachute team to celebrate his 85th birthday, Friday, June 12, 2009, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
President Bush greets his brother,former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, and Jeb's son, George P. Bush, left, as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
President George H. W. Bush, left, with his son former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, enters the West Wing of the White House to meet with President Barack Obama Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President George W. Bush, left, smiles while being introduced by his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, at the Florida Victory 2004 rally on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2004 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
This photo taken Feb. 15, 2011, show former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush greeting his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, at the White House's 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony in Washington, where her husband, former President George H.W. Bush is to receive the Medal. Jeb Bush has already heard his mother, Barbara, tell everyone “we’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House. In the lead-up to 2016 presidential campaign, the former Florida governor says he’s in his 60s and doesn’t have to do everything his mom says. “I'm trying to avoid the family conversation,” he said. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
 In this Oct. 22, 2002, file photo former first lady Barbara Bush makes a point as she campaigns for her son, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla. Amid the celebration surrounding the opening of son George W. Bush's presidential library, Barbara Bush is brushing aside talk of her son Jeb running for president in 2016. When asked how she felt about it she told NBC's "Today" show, Thursday, April 25, 2013, "We've had enough Bushes." (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, reaches out to grab his brother President George W. Bush before a speech Friday morning March 8, 2002 at America II Electronics in St. Petersburg, Fla. In the his remarks, Bush said he does not know whether Osama bin Laden is dead or alive but cautioned Americans against judging the success of the war on the fate of the terrorist mastermind. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Former first lady Barbara Bush laughs with her son, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, during a campaign stop in Ellenton, Fla., Monday, Oct. 30, 2000. The two were campaigning for another of her sons, Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush jokes with his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, during a bus ride to a rally at Florida International University in Miami, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 5, 2000. At left is New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. (AP Photo/Eric Draper)
Texas Republican Gov. George W. Bush, right, and Florida's Governor-elect, Jeb Bush, answer questions at a news conference in New Orleans Wednesday Nov. 18, 1998. A flood of media requests to interview the Texas governor and the Florida governor-elect prompted the sons of former President Bush to schedule a news conference. The governors are attending the Republican Governors Association. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Florida Gov.-elect Jeb Bush, left, laughs during a joint news conference in New Orleans Wednesday, Nov. 18, 1998, with his brother Texas Gov. George W. Bush. The Bush brothers are attending the Republican Governors Association meeting which runs through Friday. A flood of media requests to interview the Texas governor and the Florida governor-elect prompted the sons of former President Bush to schedule a joint news conference. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Former President George Bush, right, clenches his fist Sept.16, 1994 as he hugs son, Jeb during a Florida GOP fund-raiser in Tampa. After a hiatus, Bush has been hitting the campaign trail and lecture circuit with a vengence, raising millions for Republican candidates and getting digs in at President Bill Clinton along the way. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Former President George H. W. Bush, right, and son Jeb Bush chat with recruits at the Pinellas County jail's boot camp in St. Petersburg. FL., March 28, 1994. Jeb Bush, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, was on a campaign swing with his father. (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)
Cheerleaders shout their encouragement as Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush and former President George Bush applauds Barbara Bush, center, during her address to a rally on Oct. 10, 1994 at Church Street Station in Orlando, Florida. Jeb Bush is running for governor against incumbent Democrat Gov. Lawton Chiles. (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)
President George H. W. Bush talks with his son Jeb, during a round of golf at the Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport ME., Aug. 27, 1990. The president is scheduled to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney Monday, at his Walker's Point home. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush (R) reaches out to shake hands with his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush (L) shortly after Air Force One arrived at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, 09 May 2006. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush (L) looks on as his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks 19 April, 2006. Governor Bush was among several governors who met with the president after an Easter trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President George Bush (left) and brother Gov. Jeb Bush acknowledge cheering supporters at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Florida at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Friday, February 17, 2006. (Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 19: U.S. President George W. Bush (L) and his brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) smile while greeting supporters during a campaign rally at Progress Energy Park October 19, 2004 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Recent polls indicate Bush is maintaining a slight lead over his Democratic challenger U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Jeb Bush is seen at Salt Lake City Airport on January 22, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by JOCE/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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Jeb Bush predicted a good showing on Saturday, telling the crowd that "Saturday is going to be a surprise."

Trump is also keeping an eye on Cruz and trying to prevent him from gaining ground on him. He issued a statement accusing Cruz of dirty politics for running a negative ad against him.

Trump also threatened to sue Cruz to determine whether he can legally serve as president since he was born in Canada and therefore might not meet the requirements set out in the U.S. Constitution.

"One of the ways I can fight back is to bring a lawsuit against him," Trump said.

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