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Jeb Bush Picks Up Endorsement From Lindsey Graham

Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush waves to the audience during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate Thursday.
Rainier Ehrhardt

Former GOP presidential hopeful Linsdey Graham has announced his endorsement of Jeb Bush for president.

Graham's presidential campaign went nowhere, but as a senator from the early voting state of South Carolina he hopes to still have some clout.

Graham praised Bush's temperament Friday morning, following Thursday night's GOP debate. "He hasn't tried to get ahead in a contested primary by embracing demagoguery ... he's not running to be commander-in-chief by running people down," he said.

That was clearly a reference to Donald Trump. Bush returned the admiration, calling Graham a "patriot."

"He loves this country. You just hear it how he spoke from his heart about what's at stake here. What's at stake is our way of life," Bush said.

Jeb Bush — still slumping in polls — has been looking for a way to jump-start his campaign, but an endorsement from a former candidate who couldn't break through either probably won't give Bush the upswing he needs.

With the Iowa caucuses fewer than three weeks away, he's polling behind Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson both nationally and in Iowa. Bush was unable to stand out from the field once again at Thursday's Republican presidential debate. And Bush's donors are reportedly getting skittish, saying it's only a matter of time before he drops out. Politico reported that several donors said they are now waiting for what one former George W. Bush administration appointee described as a "family hall pass" to switch to another campaign after the New Hampshire primary.

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You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
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