-- As voting finally nears, the dynastic power of the Bush family is being unleashed.
The Bush campaign fired back.
The candidate's wife, Columba, was present at three of Bush's New Hampshire town halls last week. Though Columba Bush is a staple at fundraisers and does her own campaigning, this is the first time she's campaigned publicly with her husband.
When asked about the timing of her visit, Bush told a group of reporters that she was there because he enjoyed having her around, saying she'd be out on the trail more.
"She's coming to Iowa with me and back here in New Hampshire on the bus tour that we'll have post Iowa," Bush said. He then joked, "I think the campaign likes her to be around me, so I'm not as impatient with them."
The former Florida first lady has long been known as a bit of a media recluse, shying away from the pageantry of politics, preferring projects such as working with victims of domestic violence. At each of the events at which she was present, she did not speak with voters or reporters, often whisked away as soon as the event ended.
Their youngest son, Jeb Jr. (also known as Jebby), discounted the notion that his mother didn't enjoy campaign life. He also joined his family for a few events, later doing some door-knocking with a few other Floridians that made the trek to the Granite State.
"I think she had a lot of fun this week up here in New Hampshire, she's especially on the challenge with heroin and drug abuse is something that she’s spent the last couple of decades in Florida. ... She likes to come up here and talk about her experience and talk about the challenges facing families," the younger Bush told ABC News.
Those challenges are of a personal nature. Their daughter, Noelle, struggled with drug addiction and was arrested and forced to go to drug court in 2002.
Now, Noelle, who lives in Orlando, also joins her family out on the trail, making an appearance at two New Hampshire town halls earlier this month.
Dorothy Bush Koch, sister to Jeb and George, told donors last week not to be surprised if the former president appeared in South Carolina soon, according to a donor present on the call.
Bush has been criticized for apparently shirking his last name with his eponymous campaign signs but, these days, he seems he's not shrinking from his name but rather embracing it.
In a cafeteria in Hampton, New Hampshire last week, a voter asked Bush which president in his family he gets his advice from. Bush said, as he often does that he's his own man.
He then had a moment of catharsis, perhaps, speaking in full recognition of both the blessing and burden his family name brings.
"I'm proud of them. I'm not running away from them, that is total nonsense. ... I spend time talking about my family in a loving way, but you can't ignore them because that's weird, I mean that's kind of a strange thing," he said.
He then shifted to the Bush matriarch.
"I mean if there’s anybody more powerful in my family than my mother then I don’t know who it is," he said, smiling.