That’s not to say the remark, however politically tinny, would hobble his shot at becoming the third member of his family to claim the presidency. Republican voters in the early nominating states generally feel that the economy is struggling under President Obama. (In fact, the economy has added roughly five times the number of jobs under Obama than under President George W. Bush and the unemployment rate is below the historical averages.) Jeb Bush continues to enjoy success in fundraising and establishment-minded Republicans still count him as one of their favored options.
It’s why Democrats have been unrelenting. “Jeb Bush’s economic plan seems to be demanding middle class Americans work longer, while refusing to do anything to actually help the middle class get ahead,” Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman said Thursday. “Raising the minimum wage? Nope. Ensuring women are paid equally for the long hours they work already? No comment. Repealing quality, affordable health care? Sure. I wonder how much harder Jeb Bush wants Americans to work—47% more?”
Yet Bush’s team instantly recognized the potential problem. Many of them worked through 2012 to amplify a similarly troublesome comment from Obama. During a campaign stop in Virginia three years ago, Obama said government works to provide services like firefighters and infrastructure like roads and the Internet. He then uttered this doozy, a favorite that 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney loved to repeat: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”