“I’ve learned to accept the simple fact that I’m imperfect under God’s watchful eye,” the Republican presidential candidate said. “I don’t have a self-esteem problem, and I don’t have an overstated-worth problem. . . . The adversity I turn into opportunity. It’s an obstacle to jump over. It’s an opportunity to get better.”
The next morning in Manchester, after a child asked what it was like to grow up the son of a president, Bush told a room full of kids that his father’s approval weighed on him. “All he had to do was say, ‘I’m disappointed in you,’ and it would send me in a deep, spiraling depression,” he said.
Bush is suddenly campaigning as if he’s in a therapy session, wounded and wrestling with his identity both as a political performer and as heir to the Bush family dynasty. On a comeback tour here this week to rehabilitate his sputtering candidacy, Bush wore his emotions on his sleeve and volunteered introspective interpretations of why he wasn’t winning.