As Rachel noted on the show last night, Jeb Bush raised a few eyebrows at a campaign event in Iowa yesterday, speculating about a possible running mate. “Should I be elected president,” the Republican said, “I would have my vice president, I think she will be a great partner.” Smiling a bit, Bush joked, “Did I say that out loud?”
I suspect this is part of a clumsy strategy to get people thinking about him as an electable general-election candidate, who’ll be only too pleased to go up against Hillary Clinton with a Republican woman on his ticket.
Will this have the intended effect? It’s hard to say for sure, though it’s hard to blame the guy for trying – nothing else is working for Team Jeb. NBC News had an amazing report yesterday documenting the presidential candidates’ spending so far, and Bush and his allies have easily outspent every other campaign operation in both parties, but to no avail. The Florida Republican remains stuck in the mid-single digits in state and national polling.
Of course, there’s another way to look at this: Jeb may be hovering around 5% in the polls, but imagine where he’d be if his campaign and its allies hadn’t already spent roughly $29 million on his behalf.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that Bush backers expected the Paris attacks to refocus the race, giving Jeb a possible boost as the public looked for mature, steady leadership. But with fresh evidence that Paris hasn’t improved Bush’s standing at all, there’s “a fresh round of hand-wringing and second-guessing” about the candidate’s future.
On Monday, the Bush campaign circulated a list of fundraisers that mostly included previously announced supporters. Earlier, the campaign released an online video highlighting Mr. Bush’s leadership as governor during Hurricane Ivan – in 2004.
Um, what else you got?
Mr. Bush has sought to reassure uneasy donors by pointing out that in the most recent presidential race, several candidates surpassed Mitt Romney in the polls before he locked down the nomination.
Some may buy this, but it’s a tough sell: Romney never fell to the depths Bush is seeing now. Assorted frontrunners came and went in the GOP’s 2012 race, but Romney was consistently a strong second, while Jeb is currently running fifth. Romney also maintained double-digit support throughout the primary race, while Jeb has been in single-digits for quite a while.
Finally, there was this:
Major donors to Right to Rise said they expect the super PAC to raise $20 million to $30 million in the second half of 2015. On Thursday, C. Boyden Gray, who served as White House counsel for Mr. Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, is hosting a campaign fundraiser at his Washington, D.C. home, among 16 scheduled fundraisers over nine days in 13 cities this month.
So, the candidate whose financial advantage hasn’t moved the needle is planning to lean on … his financial advantage?
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Jeb Bush is running out of answers