Jeb Bush looks back for inspiration to go forward

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 things you need to know Wednesday.

The gathering of the Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination at the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder is not expected to hit the Nielsen levels attained by the previous showdowns seen on Fox News (24 million on Aug. 6) and CNN (22.9 million on Sept. 16). All eyes will be on Ben Carson and Donald Trump for the third GOP debate, one day after Carson overtook Trump for the first time in USA TODAY’s GOP Power Rankings.

Republican presidential contenders will hold their third debate of the primary election season Wednesday, amid signs frontrunner Donald Trump is losing ground to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. We’re about to find out, just as soon as he decides. “Well, I don’t get it,” a confounded Trump said this week when asked to explain why the preference polls he touts every time he’s campaigning no longer show him as the unquestioned leader of the GOP’s 2016 presidential field. The soft-spoken Carson has been a low-key presence in the first two GOP debates, but the retired neurosurgeon is likely to get more attention from moderators – as well as his fellow candidates – after a series of preference polls show him atop the field in Iowa. The competition hears that CNBC is guaranteeing advertisers around 15 million viewers, which is in the range of what CNN pulled for its Democratic primary debate Oct. 14.

Preference polls are a far-from-perfect way to predict election outcomes, especially with voters still three months away from casting ballots in the first-to-vote Iowa caucuses. Trump has already shown he’s eager to take on Carson, jabbing him for his speaking style and raising questions about his Seventh Day Adventist faith. The question stands if Carly Fiorina can regain her polling numbers, and if Jeb Bush has the staying power to continue in the race. (Does Bush seem like he wants to be there?) The debate airs on CNBC at 8 p.m., and moderator John Harwood is expected to pay particular attention to economic issues — taxes, retirement spending and job growth.

Slower-than-expected fundraising has led Bush to slash spending and overhaul his campaign structure, and he’s voiced frustration with the way the unusual race has progressed. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows Carson with 26 percent support among Republican primary voters with Trump in second place with 22 percent. Many daytime viewers watch CNBC in their offices without the sound turned up, and NBCUniversal no longer uses Nielsen to measure the ratings during its business coverage hours. So far, the real estate mogul and reality TV star has forgone paid advertising and traditional small-scale campaign events, where candidates interact with voters in the early voting states, for massive rallies in arenas and auditoriums. The deal, which was reached this week, would suspend the debt ceiling until March 2017; that pushes any argument over the debt limit beyond the 2016 election cycle and places it into the hands of a new presidential administration and a new Congress.

There will be 10 candidates on stage in the prime-time debate in Boulder, Colo., all seeking a share of a smaller spotlight: this debate on CNBC will run for only two hours after the last affair went on for more than three. The debate also airs directly against Game 2 of the World Series, which will provide significant competition for the older male viewers that make up a heavy component of the news audience.

At nearly every one, Trump begins his speech by recounting his place in the latest polls, reciting one number after the next with the help of hand-written notes. The deal also creates a two-year budget plan that would bring some relief from across-the board spending cuts and would create a path to avoid a government shutdown in December. Experience as Florida governor and the Bush name haven’t ignited the Jeb Bush candidacy, with the high-profile candidate forced to trim expenses and payroll recently. (David Becker/Getty Images) Among them, two senators — Florida’s Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz of Texas.

CNBC should benefit from the way viewers have gravitated to the debates — powered on the GOP side by the celebrity star-power and unpredictability of Donald Trump — in an unprecedented way. The stakes seem especially critical for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who recently slashed campaign spending after slipping further behind in national polls and surveys in key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. But as Trump’s poll numbers have appeared to plateau, Wednesday’s event may be the last where just his presence makes the debate a major attraction. “We’re at a time where you’re going to see a fair amount of movement,” said Nikhil Deogun, CNBC Business News’ senior vice president and editor in chief. “You are at this point in the [election] cycle where voters are paying attention to the substance of the responses as well.” The debate rating will undoubtedly top CNBC’s previous ratings for a non-Olympic event set Nov. 9, 2011, when 3.3 million tuned in for a Republican primary debate. A poll released this week by CBS News and The New York Times also showed Carson catching up to Trump nationally, too. “This process is extremely fluid right now,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, which conducted one of the Iowa polls. “Those outsider voters are now flipping back and forth.” For Trump, the development appears to be a hard-to-swallow reversal — one that some supporters hope will force the billionaire businessman to compete harder for the Republican nomination than he has since the summer launch of his campaign. While the plea agreement could mean that Hastert could spend time in prison, it could also mean that the 73-year-old can keep embarrassing details about his past out of the public eye.

Wednesday’s prime-time debate will also feature former business executive Carly Fiorina, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. CNBC is taking advantage of the expected ratings boon — its sales department was selling ad packages for around $200,000 for the two-hour debate and the coverage afterward, a multiple of their usual rates.

In referring to a poll taken in Iowa, Trump called The Des Moines Register a third-rate newspaper and described Bloomberg News as a company against him because its founder and namesake, Michael Bloomberg, has indicated a desire to run for president in the past. “Right now it’s not very scientific,” he said Tuesday of the polls. The political outsiders appealing to voter anger with Washington have ceded no ground and establishment politicians are still waiting for the race to turn their way — and increasingly wondering if it ever will. CNBC could command a premium for the ad time as research shows that the median income of its viewers, more than $70,000, is among the highest in television. CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla, who will be querying the candidates alongside “Squawk Box” co-host Becky Quick and correspondent John Harwood, said he’s aware that its a major opportunity for a new audience to sample the channel’s journalism. “We’re going to get a lot of viewers who have never watched before,” he said. “Hopefully whatever people see, it will be all about the brand, NBC, and our commitment to do big events right.” During rallies in Florida over the weekend and in New Hampshire on Monday, Trump referred to reporters as scum and liars who were out to get his campaign.

But his dip in Iowa has prompted some speculation among Republicans that the tide could be turning against the bombastic billionaire. “His only hope of staying competitive is to entertain voters with his provocateur-in-chief routine right up until Election Day,” said Josh Holmes, a former adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “He’s the one candidate where ‘acting presidential’ actually has a detrimental effect on his campaign.” While Carson is unknown to many Americans, he’s built a loyal following with tea party-aligned voters and religious conservatives. Carson has raised eyebrows with his incendiary comments about Muslims and references to Nazis and slavery on the campaign trail, rhetoric he’s made no apologies for. Clinton also helped herself with her strong appearance before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and a crisp debate performance the previous week.

He also raised questions about Carson’s religious faith and has started to highlight what he says are contradictions in his record and policy positions. Britain’s Prince Harry will join Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in Virginia on Wednesday to promote the May 2016 Invictus Games — an international sporting competition for injured military members. In the Republican race, Trump has stepped up his attacks on Carson in recent days, accusing him of having “super low energy” in an interview with CNN. In an effort to highlight the importance of mental health and well-being in service personnel, Harry will visit the Fort Belvoir military base to meet wounded servicemen and women. Expressing dismay at his apparent drop in support among evangelical Christians, Trump repeatedly touted his faith, telling evangelicals in the audience: “I am the real deal.” Trump also shook up his usual rally format, taking questions from those in the crowd.

On foreign policy, he’s said, “all options should remain on the table when dealing with international bullies,” such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. But his challenge Wednesday is less about highlighting his mastery of the issues and more about showing his supporters he has the temperament to fight through a long and grueling primary. “You’ve got a guy here speaking from experience, speaking with knowledge about issues, speaking with a reasonable approach to matters,” said Pat Hickey, a Bush supporter from Nevada. “The problem, though, is: do those things seem to matter to the electorate?” With a well-funded super PAC standing by, Bush doesn’t appear to be on the brink of a campaign collapse, even if he performs poorly in the debate.

But Trump did well in a new Associated Press-Gfk poll where seven in 10 Republicans surveyed said Trump was the party’s strongest general election candidate, compared to six in 10 for Carson. Trump also got a boost recently when Politico reported that 81 percent of Republican insiders who they check with regularly believe that the odds of Trump winning the nomination have grown measurably over the last two months. They do like it.” “He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to win the election to get in,” Buck said. “I mean, he’s the strongest man for the job, I feel, then he has to do what he has to do.” “I love you all,” Trump said. “But I do mean it.

Bush, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Republicans may have to choose between a nominee who has a conservative agenda or one “reflecting populist anger”, presumably referring to Trump. Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, earned strong reviews for her performance at the last debate, but her organization has not been able to capitalize on the positive media coverage in terms of poll numbers.

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