Jeb Bush has had better days — and probably weeks, months and years…
After leading in the polls in New Hampshire as late as June, Bush has fallen to 5th place in a state many think is a must win for him. According to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, Bush trails Trump, Carson, Rubio and John Kasich in the Granite State. In one recent New Hampshire poll, Cruz was beating Bush as well.
What makes these numbers even worse is that Bush continues to persist in the middling single digits in New Hampshire polls even after he and his super PAC have run nearly $5 million (or perhaps more at this point) worth of TV and radio ads in the state since September.
Even after dominating the ad race, voters just don’t seem to be swayed by Bush’s message.
Jeb Bush’s decision to attack old friend and new rival Marco Rubio is backfiring, pushing important supporters to criticize the campaign’s tactics and driving one of Florida’s top fundraisers to officially quit and signal a shift in allegiance to the senator.
“I think the world of Jeb Bush. He was a great governor of Florida and is a really good person, but the campaign has hijacked his message” said Brian Ballard, a Tallahassee lobbyist who contributed more than $25,000 of his own money and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more for Bush’s campaign and the super PAC supporting him.
“The campaign has become negative, one that is about attacking and trying to bring down Marco Rubio. And that doesn’t sit well — not only with me, but with anyone who knows the two,” Ballard said. “Marco’s a friend of mine. I didn’t sign up for a campaign that was going to be negative and attack a bright star of the party’s future. It doesn’t make sense. I’m over it. And I’m done.”
Jeb Bush guaranteed victory in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary. Despite tanking poll numbers, the governor told WMUR he remains confident he can win.
“I’m going to win it,” Bush said.
“Is it a must-win for you?” asked WMUR’s John DiStaso.
“Oh, I’m going to win it,” Bush repeated. “I honestly believe I’m going to win New Hampshire.”
“I know I can get better each and every day,” Jeb Bush pledged, as he stood in front of the World War II Sherman tank at his town hall meeting. “I strive each and every day, I pray each and every day to get better as a husband, as a father, as a leader. I know I can get better, and I believe that this country is going to get better,” Bush declared Wednesday evening…
He tried to project serenity — that his standing in the polls was of little concern — while emphasizing that he was self-aware enough to realize that he had to improve his debate performance. “What’s on my mind right now is the debate,” he declared, and he said he intended to “be better as a performer on the debate stage.”
The Floridian told reporters he was actually doing “less debate prep” than he had for the previous three debates, and he planned to try more “being me” for next week’s Fox Business debate. He explained, “It’s not a debate. It’s a chance to be able to say what you think, and I’m going to take advantage of that,” critiquing debate formats made up of 30-second answers and rebuttals.
Speaking to reporters aboard his campaign bus on the first leg of a three-day swing through New Hampshire, Bush once again criticized congressional lawmakers for working a three-day week, saying lawmakers have over-promised and under-delivered to the American people in successive elections. But the GOP presidential hopeful acknowledged he was wrong to criticize the French when he was trying to highlight rival Marco Rubio’s poor voting record in the Senate.
“I made the mistake of saying that the Congress operates on a French work week,” he deadpanned. “I really did a disservice to the French,” Bush added with a chuckle Tuesday…
“I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek,” Bush continued. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country—our first ally—that helped us become free as a nation! And I apologize. That did a huge disservice to France. It didn’t really get to the magnitude of the problem: Three day work week.”
At least three times in recent days, Mr. Bush has let fly a “damn,” or some variation, to enliven remarks on the stump during his “Jeb Can Fix It” tour in New Hampshire and Florida…
When a Boston Globe reporter wrote on Twitter that Mr. Bush’s new slogan seemed to be “Damn, Jeb!” the campaign offered only a modest tweak.
“Believe it’s ‘Jeb can fix it, damn it,’” said Tim Miller, Mr. Bush’s communications director.
Bush is suddenly campaigning as if he’s in a therapy session, wounded and wrestling with his identity both as a political performer and as heir to the Bush family dynasty. On a comeback tour here this week to rehabilitate his sputtering candidacy, Bush wore his emotions on his sleeve and volunteered introspective interpretations of why he wasn’t winning…
Through two days on the stump here, he exhibited newfound intensity and a will to persevere despite the political obituaries from pundits. He was well-received everywhere he went, although he did not seal the deal; some voters said they were keeping their options open…
This was the most critical week of his campaign so far, and Bush was by turns joyful and tart, carefree and stern. At one stop, he pledged to unite the country and ordered a hostile questioner to “put a smile on your face.” At another stop, he forgot to smile at his own jokes and showed flashes of anger. Addressing about 100 people packed into a wooden barn in Rye, Bush was working so hard to display passion that he was almost screaming his stump speech. “We’re Americans, dammit!” he thundered. It was, as Trump might put it, a high-energy performance…
“I like Jeb, but I just feel bad for him,” she said. “He’s had a hard go of it. His brother was just so much more engaging. But Jeb, people just chew him up. Isn’t it painful to watch?”
JEB: Probably not. My problem in the debates: I have to untrain myself to answer questions that are asked. You have to pivot towards what you want to say, and, um, learn to interrupt in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re, um, just oppressively rude.
RUSH: I’m sorry, folks. It sounds to me… You know, Jeb Bush, strip away all this noise. Jeb Bush is a decent, nice guy. And it sounds to me like he really resents what he thinks you have to do. He is basically saying, “Yeah, they gotta teach me how to fool people, how to deceive people. You can’t answer the question that they ask you. You gotta take the opportunity of the question. You gotta say what you want to say. You gotta get your message out. You can’t allow yourself to be held prisoner to them.”…
You know, folks, it just my little opinion here, but I think Jeb Bush’s biggest problem is gonna be a tough one to correct, and that is when he first said his objective is to win the nomination by sidetracking the base, to win the nomination by losing the primaries. I don’t know. Can a consultant teach somebody to be a conservative? I don’t know if there is such a person.