Rubio team goes after Bush donors

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

NEW YORK (AP) — CNBC reached its biggest audience ever with the third Republican presidential debate, but paid a price in criticism of how its moderators handled the opportunity to question the candidates. 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.Carly Fiorina, who has been pushing herself as the Republican foil to top Democratic contender for President Hillary Clinton, upped the rhetoric at the third GOP debate Wednesday night. “What we need now is a proven leader who has produced results,” she said. “That’s how you go from secretary to CEO: You lead and you produce results. 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? I may not be your dream candidate, just yet, but I can assure you: I am Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare.” Fiorina has been harshly criticized for her leadership at HP, which you can read about in this August article from Fortune.

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.

Like baseball umpires, debate moderators are most noticed when something goes wrong, and Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood were in the spotlight Thursday. 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. Individual candidates grumbled and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the moderators’ performance “was extremely disappointing.” Representatives from all the GOP campaigns plan a private meeting in the next few days to air out complaints about how the debates are being run, said Douglas Watts, a Ben Carson spokesman.

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.

Harwood then said to Donald Trump: “You’ve done very well on this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it, send 11 million people out of the country, cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit and make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others. 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.

Let’s be honest, is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?” Trump called it “not a very nicely asked question,” and one of Harwood’s NBC News colleagues, Joe Scarborough, called the question “absolutely embarrassing” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday. 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.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a University of Pennsylvania communications professor and debate expert, said Harwood’s last sentence ruined what could have been a useful question. 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. CNBC would not comment beyond spokesman Brian Steel’s comment: “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.” In subsequent questions, Carson was asked what kind of analysis made him think his flat tax plan would work; Marco Rubio was asked why he wouldn’t “slow down, get a few more things done first” before running for president and whether he hates his job as a senator; Jeb Bush was asked why his candidacy wasn’t catching on; and Carly Fiorina was asked why Americans should hire her as president when she was fired by Hewlett-Packard.

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. “… When Quintanilla asked Ted Cruz whether his opposition to a congressional budget deal showed “that you’re not the kind of problem-solver American voters want,” he exploded. “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” the Texas Republican said. “This is not a cage match.

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. Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?” Mike Huckabee objected to Harwood asking him whether Trump had the moral authority to lead the country, and Trump chimed in that it was “such a nasty question.” Trump accused Quick of incorrectly quoting him, and it took her several minutes to prove her point. 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. 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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