MEREDITH, N.H. -- Tom Emanuel said something on Wednesday night that doesn't often get said to Jeb Bush's face: He's thinking of supporting Donald Trump.
Several people in the crowd booed as Emanuel asked Bush why he insists on calling the GOP front-runner a "jerk."
"Let me see how much time we have," Bush said to laughs.
That was the beginning of the former Florida governor's lengthy explanation.
First, he began with praise.
"I like the fact that he is not embarrassed about his success," Bush said of Trump. "I think we ought to be celebrating success in life and I think it’s great that he’s been successful. Wonderful. And he maybe exaggerates his success a bit, and all that, but it’s good, it’s a healthy thing, it’s an American thing to be successful and to be proud."
Bush added that "I like the fact, to a limit, that he is politically incorrect. Because we’re way too uptight and there is no leeway anymore about expressing your views. ... ...the fact that he has made a contribution to kind of loosen things up a little bit, I think that’s good."
Eventually, Bush said that he thinks Trump is a jerk because "when anybody, anybody, disparages people with disabilities, it sets me off. That’s why I called him a jerk, because he disparaged a person who he knew had a disability and made fun of him."
In late November, Trump seemed to mock a New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who is physically disabled. The candidate was widely condemned for doing so by Bush, other Republican challengers and Democrats.
"What kind of person would you want to have in the presidency that does that?" Bush asked the more than 250 people at his town hall meeting. "Do you want a president that disparages women, Muslims of all kinds, people with disabilities, Hispanics? I mean, we’re getting down to about 90 percent of all people here. At what point do we say enough of this? Let’s start solving problems."
As he concluded, Bush turned back to Emanuel: "I think we need a serious candidate and I want your vote. I’m going to track you down and I’m going to get you to support me. You’re on my list now, brother."
Emanuel, a selectman from Laconia, N.H., said he appreciated Bush's response.
"It’s just a classic case of somebody coming through and taking the high road, and his knee-jerk reaction is always to take the high road rather than to be a sensationalist or be a demagogue or be somebody, who’s going to make fun of other people," he added.
Remember -- Emanuel said he's leaning toward Trump. Did Bush say anything to change his mind?
"Not tonight anyway, time will tell, it’s long race," he said.