Jeb Bush had to ask his audience to clap after one of his speeches was met with silence. 

Speaking at the Hanover Inn in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, Mr Bush gave an impassioned speech to distance himself from his opponents. 

"So here's my pledge to you," he said. "I will be a commander-in-chief that will have the back of the military. I won't trash talk. I won't be a divider-in-chief or an agitator-in-chief. I won't be out here blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up. 

"I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter, but send a signal that we're prepared to act in the national security interests of this country, to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world."

When the audience sat in silence while he paused for their reaction, he said: "Please clap."

A spokeswoman for Mr Bush told BuzzFeed the event has been mischaracterised by the media, and was instead a "charming moment".

“It was clear Governor Bush was cracking a joke with the audience, who laughed and enjoyed the humor,” Kristy Campbell said.

Polling averages by The Huffington Post put Mr Bush in sixth place in New Hampshire.