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Jeb Bush's saddest rally yet involves him begging audience members to clap

NBC News
Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

Things have not been going so well for Jeb Bush. He squandered his months-long first-place standing in national polls and failed to capitalize at all on his huge name recognition advantage relative to the likes of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. His Super PAC spent more than $14 million on ads in Iowa to garner 2.8 percent of the vote and sixth place, at a total cost of $2,800 per vote.

But perhaps his most humiliating moment in the campaign to date came at a Tuesday night event at the Hanover Inn in Hanover, New Hampshire, an establishment previously most famous as the site where 1988 Democratic candidate Gary Hart was asked about his extramarital affair and his political career burst into flames.

Bush's appearance at the inn wasn't quite that big of a disaster, but it was pretty bad, as the New York Times's Jonathan Martin and Ashley Parker reported:

The video is even rougher:

Jeb got a bit of good news today when a poll from the Republican-aligned Harper Polling found him in second place in New Hampshire, a mere 17 percentage points behind Donald Trump. Half the poll was taken after Iowa. But a nonpartisan poll from UMass Lowell also including some post-Iowa responses put him in fourth place, and polling averages have him in fifth.

Really, when things are that rough, the least you can do is clap for the guy.