This item has been updated.
"The Enforcer" has emerged.
Former first lady Barbara Bush, known in her family as "the enforcer," stars in a new video message for her son Jeb Bush's presidential campaign, becoming the first member of either of the family's presidential couples to so publicly speak out on his behalf.
"Jeb has been a very good father. A wonderful son. A hard worker; his heart is big," she says in the video. "When push comes to shove people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions, rather than talking about how popular they are, how great they are. He's doing it because he sees a huge need and it's not being filled by anyone. Of all the people running, he seems to be the one who could solve the problems. I think he'll be a great president."
For now, the video is an online-only production, but may soon appear in a conventional television advertisement in the early primary states. News of the video was first reported by CNN.
Early Friday, the campaign also provided a copy of a hand-written letter by the former first lady. In the message, she explains that she initially didn't like her son's decision to run because "the sacrifice for his family was huge. I changed my mind as it became clear that he is needed. I admit to being prejudiced as I am his mother."
On the campaign trail, Jeb Bush gets asked often about his aging parents — and Barbara Bush, 90, is a frequent foil for her second-eldest son. The candidate might be telling stories about himself or touting his record as Florida governor and will stop, turn to the crowd and tell them he senses his mother standing behind him prepared to whack him over the head for being boastful.
Campaigning in South Carolina in November, he recounted how he was happy that GOP front-runner Donald Trump was calling him names. But, he said, "My mother would not like it at all."
Several members of the Bush family, including former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, have appeared at campaign fundraisers and sent email requests for money to supporters over the past several months.
But on Thursday Jeb Bush gave the clearest indication yet that his brother the former president will soon actively appear on the campaign trail.
"I'm sure my brother is going to be campaigning by my side," Bush said at Hampton Academy in Hampton, N.H., according to reports.
Those comments followed a similar heads up given Thursday by Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, the only surviving Bush daughter, who told a conference call with Jeb Bush supporters that "I wouldn’t be surprised if we see 43 on the trail in South Carolina," according to a person who listened in on the call.
For months, Bush supporters have speculated that the former president would eventually appear on the campaign trail, but the timing and exact location remains a closely-guarded secret and a point of intense discussion. While the former president is more popular now than at any other point in his post-White House years, using him on the trail could spoil Jeb Bush's chances of appealing to some GOP primary voters upset by George W. Bush's presidency, and general election swing voters also displeased with the second Bush administration.
Already the extended Bush family has helped Jeb Bush raise money — lots of its. His parents have attended fundraisers in Texas and hosted hundreds of campaign donors at their Maine estate last summer. In November, George W. Bush attended a fundraiser with Jeb Bush and predicted his brother would prevail.
"I'm typically not a very good pundit, but I'll tell you this — what appears to be reality today will not be reality next February," he told the crowd, quipping later that "The winner is going to be somebody who's competitive. The winner is going to be somebody who's tall."