Jeb Bush responded to suggestions that recent cuts in his campaign staff and spending are an indication that his under-performing campaign is beginning to run out of steam.
A Bush campaign memo summarizing the campaign’s adjustments provided to Bloomberg News on Friday describes “aggressive changes” that include a 40% cut in payroll, “cutting salaries across the board,” reducing the staffing at the campaign’s Miami headquarters, and cutting 45% of the previous budget for “non media/voter contact” expenses.
The memo also emphasizes the financial health of the campaign, but the campaign’s weak polling and the stubborn resistance of poll numbers to the campaign’s efforts in places like New Hampshire can be seen as a dire sign.
Addressing the concern that his campaign is falling apart, Bush responded, “Blah blah blah blah, that’s my answer, blah blah blah.” He further dismissed the idea by jokingly referring to the ‘presidencies’ of Herman Cain, Hillary Clinton, and Rudy Giuliani, candidates who led polls early in their respective campaigns only to fall behind by the primary election. “October is not when you elect people, it’s February, and then you move into March and we have a campaign that is designed to win,” said Bush.
The appearance of a struggle is still a concern for the Bush campaign, however, because keeping donors confident in the campaign’s success is key to continued fundraising. Some donors may see poor performance by the campaign as a sign of a poor investment, thus leading to reduced donations and consequently worsening performance. In speaking with reporters ahead of a South Carolina town hall event, Bush denied any such downward spiral, citing more than half a million dollars raised in Detroit this week.
Bush echoed the talking points outlined in Friday’s memo about increasing focus on the early primary states, characterizing the restructuring of his campaign as more of a business move than damage control. “I’ve had 32 years in business and in business when you anticipate how things are going to be you anticipate them, you don’t wait for it to happen – that’s what Washington does – waits for a crisis.”