Can Jeb Bush mount a comeback?

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As criticism mounts over missed votes, Marco Rubio shows no sign of resigning.

So why doesn’t Florida Sen. After the confab, Bush’s team distributed a 45-page PowerPoint presentation to select reporters, summarizing an optimistic view of the race, touting the Republican candidate’s cash and organization, and assuring supporters that early polls are rarely indicative of ultimate success. Marco Rubio heed his critics — including his one-time mentor, former Florida governor Jeb Bush — and leave the Senate so he can pursue the presidency full time?

Jeb Bush insisted his campaign is not on death’s doorstep this afternoon despite a rocky debate performance last night and sagging poll numbers. “It’s not on life support,” Bush told reporters this afternoon of his campaign. “We have the most money. News, spans 112 pages and includes a trove of new details, including Bush’s internal polling, his vote goal in Iowa and his advertising plan for January. John Kasich took his shot, throwing up his hands and calling their proposals “crazy.” At the opening of Wednesday’s Republican debate he railed against the political outsiders’ ideas. With the tactic, aimed squarely at New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary voters — many of whom are more moderate than those in other early voting states — Kasich hopes to emerge as the establishment GOP candidate of choice. And his Senate seat gives Rubio a high-profile platform to weigh in on high-profile issues. “Marco can hold that as an ace in the hole,”said Keith Fitzgerald, a political science professor at the New College in Sarasota, Fla., and a former Democratic state lawmaker who served with Rubio in the Florida House. “At some point, he can use his position to gain center stage by being a key opponent to something that they want to do or possibly an advocate of something they want to accomplish.

Marco Rubio – that he’s the GOP’s Barack Obama – the complete offering contains more biting, detailed slights, pointedly questioning the character and ethics of Bush’s home state rival. So why give that up?” Rubio has said that he shows up for votes when they matter and that his office continues to help constituents and provide other services.

Chief among them: Many Republican voters don’t think of themselves as “mainstream” any more, and polls have shown a growing number prefer an outsider candidate. He notes that plenty of other senators who ran for the White House also had high absentee rates, and none quit the Senate. “A lot of these votes won’t mean anything,” he told CNN. “They’re not going to pass. On Wednesday night, Trump and Carson largely stuck together – furthering the divide between their candidacy and that of the race’s current and former officeholders.

And even if they if they did, the president would veto it.” They point to John McCain of Arizona, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barack Obama of Illinois, all of whom sacrificed substantial portions of their day jobs to run for president. While the slides released to the press highlight Bush’s Sunshine State endorsements and Rubio’s lack of experience, another page for donor edification gets dirtier.

It’s titled “Marco Is A Risky Bet,” and it bullet-points Rubio’s “misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera.” When Rubio was a state lawmaker, he used the state party credit card for personal expenses, a decision he later called a mistake. Marco Rubio is using his youth and immigrant family history to avoid the “establishment” label, while knowing those GOP voters likely have him on their list.

While that line seemed to backfire against Bush last night when Rubio suggested “someone convinced you attacking me is going to help you,” Bush continued with his criticism of him today. Chris Christie may be employing a similar “truth-teller” approach as Kasich, but on Wednesday he focused more on challenging CNBC moderators than his opponents. Bush told the crowd outside Geno’s Chowder & Sandwich Shop that he wished CNBC moderators had asked more substantive questions and downplayed the importance of debate theatrics. “I wish I could talk as well as some of the personalities on the stage, but I’m a doer,” he said. “… From 1972 through the 2016 election cycle, 45 sitting senators have sought the presidency but only one – Bob Dole of Kansas – resigned before the election, according to Smart Politics, a nonpartisan blog run by University of Minnesota Professor Eric J. The Bush team also mocks Rubio’s “tomorrow versus yesterday” argument as one that would be “widely ridiculed by media” should he run against the first potential female president.

On a recent four-day swing through the Granite State, some voters praised his qualifications, while asking him how he could stop Trump. “He’s trying to be the adult in the room. It’s about leadership.” Bush plans a bus tour in New Hampshire next week and will release a book on Monday called “Reply All” focusing on his e-mails to constituents while governor of Florida, ranging from helping a woman with a wild raccoon in her attic to solving child support cases. Indeed, some Republicans approached after the debate at the University of Colorado Boulder took issue with the notion of being considered establishment GOPers. “I don’t consider myself an establishment Republican, and I don’t think most voters do,” said Jimmy Kemp, son of the late New York congressman Jack Kemp, who was Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996.

The campaign measured Bush’s favorability rating to be 59 percent, behind Carson’s 67 percent but closer to Rubio’s 62 percent, Carly Fiorina’s 60 percent and Trump’s 57 percent. I do think that, over time, when people step into that voting booth, I think people will make the right choice.” “Rubio is kind of making this about Rubio,” said GOP consultant John Feehery. “Kasich was aiming more at the fantasies being spun by his opponents. Internal Bush polling also found that only a minuscule amount of voters had “firmly decided” on a candidate, but that Trump counted the most supporters who had made up their mind, at 9 percent. In the end, GOP observers agreed: Kasich should stick with the strategy, because it just might work. “Kasich is a good communicator, he’s got a good track record, he’s just got to stick with it and see what happens,” Feehery said. “If he can stick in there, he can be the last establishment man standing.”

Somewhat surprisingly, Bush’s data found that national security and foreign policy (25 percent) ranked higher on the list of voter concerns than jobs and the economy (20 percent). And while a majority found Bush would strengthen the military “because he’s been endorsed by 13 Medal of Honor recipients,” a third of GOPers said Bush “unfortunately relies upon the same core military advisors that his father and brother used.” Bush also won high scores in all three early primary states for his governmental reform plans, which include a law that would dock the pay of members of Congress when they miss votes and hearings.

But the campaign also previewed the types of ads it would run, listing “Denisha,” a story about an African-American student who took advantage of Bush’s voucher program, as a potential spot. Another pre-produced video called “Why I’m Running” is an upbeat, slickly produced package narrated by Bush himself that could hit the airwaves in a condensed version. The Hawkeye State has always been a lesser priority for Bush, who has struggled to connect with the heavily evangelical, highly ideological base there. While he currently averages just 6 percent in polling there, Bush’s vote goal, according to the document, is to attain 18 percent of the vote share, or about 23,700 votes. (About 120,000 Iowans participate in the GOP caucuses.) The campaign identifies just 1,281 known supporters in Iowa, even after making over 70,000 calls and collecting more than 5,000 emails through mid-October.

Some donors will inevitably begin shopping for another horse, advisers inside and out of the organization will gripe and finger-point about the strategy, and another bad round of polling is likely to drop as the calendar turns to November. The campaign was already fed up with the armchair quarterbacking from his backers, enough to devote one slide showcasing a quote in a news story from an anonymous donor mourning Bush’s “death spiral.” They’ll need that message to be heeded in order to make it to their fourth-quarter fundraising rollout, scheduled for Dec. 5 at the trendy Art Basel in Miami.

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