At a gathering of Bushes, the focus turns to Rubio as a key opponent

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At a gathering of Bushes, the focus turns to Rubio as a key opponent.

HOUSTON — Amid the Jeb Bush buttons and appearances by three generations of his family, there was a subtle but unmistakable focus on another candidate for president at a two-day donor summit here: Sen. In recent weeks, as his campaign has flailed, Bush has taken to telling the story of the time he crossed paths with McCain at an airport during the 2008 presidential primary campaign. “He’s carrying his bag, he has no aide, he’s running for president, he has no staff,” Jeb said in New Hampshire last month. “The campaign was basically over.HOUSTON — As Jeb Bush’s campaign wrapped up its two-day, family-and-friends sales job to top donors, there was one figure who loomed large — Marco Rubio. Bush on Monday assured top donors to his brother’s presidential campaign that Jeb Bush will be a “fierce competitor” in the 2016 race for the White House and argued his experience as Florida’s governor will ultimately win over voters. Bush joined his brother, Jeb, for a campaign event in Houston on Monday, marking the first time that his younger brother’s presidential team has allowed the press to see the two together.

Senior campaign officials were not shy about addressing Bush’s former protégé turned presidential rival straight on, breaking out a 45-panel slideshow that outlined the campaign’s finances, its polling, its communications strategy, its overall view of the race — and its specific view of Rubio. In a closed-door strategy briefing, Bush campaign officials detailed numerous contrasts they are seeking to draw with Rubio (R-Fla.) and branded him disparagingly as a “GOP Obama.” An official with a pro-Bush super PAC mentioned Rubio’s name twice in a chat with reporters, despite not being asked about him. The idea that “experience matters” was the theme of an on-stage conversation between the two brothers at a private event for donors to Bush’s campaign.

The elder Bush spoke to the unexpected challenges that can arise during a president’s administration – in reference to the September 11th attacks – and how his brother has the kind of background and steadiness needed to deal with those challenges if elected. The campaign’s fixation on the Florida senator was evidenced by several slides, including one noting the allies of both Rubio and Bush who have sided with Bush’s campaign. “Marco hasn’t received a single endorsement from a fellow U.S. His trip down memory lane serves as a helpful reminder that for all the attention we pay to the latest polls, we shouldn’t mistake surveys for a crystal ball.

Senator,” the text on screen read. “Governor Bush has been endorsed by three, as well as 20 House members.” The following slide called Rubio “a GOP Obama” and noted their “strikingly similar profiles: first-term senators, lawyers and university lecturers, served in part-time state legislatures for eight years, had few legislative accomplishments, and haven’t shown much interest in the process of advancing legislation and getting results.” The presentation was followed by a luncheon, with former President George W. While Donald Trump has seriously altered the course of Bush’s campaign, it is clearer than ever that Bush ultimately sees Rubio, who is rising in the polls, as the biggest obstacle in the lane he is trying to take to the GOP nomination. “The higher you climb on the ladder, the more behind you show and the bigger target you become,” said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael S.

Marco Rubio, who the campaign views as Bush’s top competition for the Republican nomination. “Put it in the campaign slogan, ‘A proven leader,'” George W. The two-day summit,which featured political briefings and strategy sessions, was also used to motivate—and calm—fundraisers after the campaign announced Friday that it is cutting payroll it save more than $1 million over the next month.

The long-planned two-day Houston strategy session and donor meeting followed news Friday that the Bush campaign is trimming resources by reducing the size of its headquarters and slashing payroll by 40%. Bush told about 175 of Jeb Bush’s most loyal donors on the second day of the two-day event, according to an audio recording of the meeting. “He knows how to manage an administration,” the former president said. “I happen to believe eventually the American people will say, ‘Who has the experience necessary to be president? Bush is hoping a nervous-and-getting-more-so GOP establishment connects the dots between his struggles and those of the man who ultimately won the party’s nomination in 2008. Who’s run a state, for example?” The donor event arrived at a crucial moment for Bush, a once-dominant GOP candidate who is lagging in preference polls to a pair of political novices with no experience in elected office, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump.

With fewer than 100 days until voting begins, Bush’s campaign is betting that a large swath of Republican voters will ultimately seek out a seasoned politician as their choice for the party’s nominee — especially given the GOP’s widespread dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, who was elected during his first term in the Senate. “We are pitching our path to victory. Both were forced to restructure their campaigns after burning through campaign cash at an alarming rate—news of which prompted plenty of speculation among the chattering class that their once-promising candidacies were on life support.

Reports from the event indicate the refocused campaign message will center more on Bush’s ability to fix a broken Washington and an argument based on comparing the governor’s record with the resumes of his opponents. That message comes with special attention to one of Bush’s rivals for the nomination – fellow Floridian Marco Rubio – painting the freshman senator as inexperienced and ill prepared to be commander-in-chief. LeMieux, a Florida Republican who attended the summit, said Rubio ought to “consider” resigning from Congress as he pursues the presidency. “I vetoed a couple of projects for one of the presidential candidates,” he said during a moderated discussion. Bush, meanwhile, hasn’t averaged above 15 percent since mid-July, and has inched into double digits only once in the past 12 national polls dating back to mid-September.

The cuts were calculated based on his and Rubio’s available cash, so as to ensure Bush would have enough to make it to the start of voting in February, campaign aides said. Bush frequently alludes to Rubio with knocks on his voting record in Washington and ramped up that rhetoric today alluding to a veto of a Rubio bill in Florida. That doesn’t mean a Jeb resurgence is impossible—particularly given he still has Marco Rubio within his sights in the establishment lane, which many still expect will produce the eventual nominee.

Additionally the campaign plans to highlight national security in a clear nod to the current administration’s foreign policy and the roll played by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Although Jeb Bush continues to grapple with how much to defend his brother’s broader legacy on the campaign trail, he was again resolute in defending criticism of George W. The bigger problem with Jeb’s sales pitch, though, is that donning a McCain mask for Halloween is unlikely to win over the GOP’s right wing, which was never a fan of the Arizona senator in the first place, nor will it give his establishment friends warm and fuzzy memories. Jay Zeidman, a Houston fundraiser for Bush, said of Rubio, “he’s been a great U.S. senator, but we’re not running for Senate.” Zeidman said the Bush team has looked at data that has convinced them that voters won’t pick someone “who is not capable of being commander in chief,” a reference to Trump and Carson.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed Bush with support from eight percent of Republican primary voters, putting him in fifth place. On the trail, Bush maintains that despite the retooled strategy he will continue to run what he calls a “joyful” campaign that he says is designed to win when voters actually head to polls early next year. “I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in their lives,” Bush said over the weekend. “I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. Lagging in early-state surveys amid the rise of political newcomers such as Trump and struggling to keep on pace with fundraising, the campaign took dramatic steps last week to cut costs, trimming payroll and headquarters staff. Bush reprised his Yale commencement address line informing C students, “You, too, can be president,” Jeb Bush cut through the laughter in the room to make a more serious point. “Wait a second.

They’ve looked at the GPAs of Gore and Kerry, the two candidates that you whooped like nobody’s business,” said Jeb Bush, extolling his brother’s virtues. “And you had higher GPA and you actually were, you know, a human being. On that selling point, however, he will face competition from Rubio, who would be the nation’s first Hispanic president. “Jeb is going to win the Latino vote, which is essential to winning,” George W.

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