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Why Bush's campaign strategy could backfire

Jeb Bush has had a strong past month, raising 90% of a combined $114 million via his super PAC. But how does his divided team respond during a campaign crisis?

Jeb Bush’s strong past month… Think of him as the aircraft carrier in the GOP field that won’t go down by a single strike… Jeb and Hillary are building two very different campaign models… What the campaigns and Super PACs have raised so far… Bill Clinton and W. Bush discuss 2016: Is Hillary vs. Jeb a fait accompli?... A GOP scared of Donald Trump… Nikki Haley: A GOP star is born (again)… And Cyber Insecurity.


*** Jeb Bush’s strong past month: Exactly a month ago, Jeb Bush was in a rough spot, especially in the aftermath of how he handled that Iraq war question. Indeed, we were writing back then that Jeb was clinging to any kind of frontrunner status. But since that time, he’s had a strong last 30 days. It started with his European trip. It carried over to his presidential announcement in Miami. It was evident in how he handled his taxes release. And it was hammered home yesterday, when his campaign and Super PAC reported raising a combined $114 million. The biggest takeaway from the last month is that he’s the aircraft carrier in the GOP field; he isn’t going to sink by a single strike. He still has his vulnerabilities (that Iraq war question and even his recent “people need to work longer hours” line are two examples). Money, as our colleague Perry Bacon writes, isn’t everything. And it’s still possible he won’t be his party’s nominee -- all that’s needed is for a Scott Walker or Marco Rubio to truly take off. But when you have the durability and resources that Jeb Bush has, he isn’t going away easily.

*** Jeb and Hillary are building two very different campaign models: The early fundraising numbers tell us that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are building two very different models. Jeb’s model -- with a whopping $103 million via his Super PAC and $11.4 million by his campaign (in just 16 days) -- is one where you will have possibly two competing organizations (the campaign and the Super PAC), and where most of the resources (at least early on) will be housed in the Super PAC. As one anonymous Republican emails Politico, “[T]he true test of this structure will be during a campaign crisis, when a bifurcated team will have to respond. On the one hand, there will be a Super PAC functioning like a traditional campaign. And then there will be the actual campaign [handling] candidate scheduling, logistics, and policy briefing shop. Who takes the lead in responding during a crisis?” Meanwhile, Hillary’s model -- $45 million raised by the campaign, $23 million by two Super PACs -- is the structure we’ve seen from the last two successful presidential candidates, Barack Obama and George W. Bush. This model keeps most of the resources and almost all of the decision-making inside the campaign. What’s more, campaigns get discounted ad rates versus what outside groups and Super PACs get.

*** What the campaigns have raised so far: With the July 15 reporting deadline coming up next week, here is what the CAMPAIGNS have raised so far:

  • Hillary Clinton campaign: $45 million
  • Bernie Sanders campaign: $15 million
  • Jeb Bush: $11.4 million
  • Ben Carson: $10.5 million
  • Ted Cruz campaign: $10 million
  • Carly Fiorina: $1.4 million

*** What the Super PACs and 501c4s have raised so far:

  • Right to Rise (Jeb Bush): $103 million
  • Keep the Promise groups (Ted Cruz): an estimated $37 million
  • Priorities USA (Hillary Clinton): $15.6 million
  • American Bridge (Hillary Clinton): $7.7 million
  • American Bridge 501c4 (Hillary): $1 million
  • Conservative Solutions PAC (Rubio): $16 million
  • Conservative Solutions Project 501c4 (Rubio): $15.8 million
  • CARLY for America (Fiorina): $3.4 million

*** What the combined amounts (campaign + Super PACs) are:

  • Team Jeb: $114.4 million
  • Team Hillary: $68.3 million
  • Team Cruz: $51 million (that includes the $4 million his campaign raised in the 1stQ)
  • Team Carly: $4.8 million

A reminder: Because of the difference between how the organizations can raise money, plus the different ad rates they get, it’s important to compare apples to apples (the campaigns), oranges to oranges (the Super PACs), and grapefruit to grapefruit (combined amounts).

*** Bill Clinton and W. Bush discuss 2016: Is Hillary vs. Jeb a fait accompli? Here’s a final point to make about Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush: Is a general election featuring the two becoming a fait accompli? Just consider yesterday’s event in Dallas, TX with former President Bill Clinton and former President George W. Bush, where they were talking about a potential Jeb-vs.-Hillary matchup. “I know Jeb. And I’m confident that Secretary Clinton will elevate the discourse,” former President Bush said, per MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt and Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner. “I can’t attest to their surrogates. But I can attest to this surrogate: I’m not going to be a surrogate!” President Clinton was more direct: “I know who I want to win,” he said. Maybe it’s a fait accompli – and maybe it isn’t.

*** A GOP scared of Donald Trump: As for Donald Trump, the New York Times explores why Republican leaders have been so hesitant in calling him out more forcefully. The answer: They’re worried about the backlash -- from both GOP voters and Trump himself. “Republican Party leaders agonize over the prospect that Donald Trump will mount a third-party candidacy that could undermine their nominee. They fear insulting the white working-class voters who admire him. They are loath to tangle with a threat-flinging firebrand for whom there are no rules of engagement.” But this hesitancy (from the party and the 2016ers) raises this question posed by Tufts foreign-relations professor Dan Drezner: “If you're a #GOP2016 candidate and can't stand up to @realDonaldTrump, why should I trust you to stand up to Putin?”

*** A GOP star is born (again): With the Confederate flag coming down from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds, Nikki Haley has once again emerged as a GOP star -- and an obvious VP short-lister. It’s interesting: She took a big national focus in her first two years as South Carolina, and paid a price for it back at home. Then she focused more at home, and she now finds herself a national star. Funny how those things work out. One other thing worth pointing out: The Confederate flag coming down was accomplished largely because Haley and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott all stood together. There was no space between them.

*** Cyber Insecurity: Given what happened to OPM, NYSE, United Airlines, and every other high-profile hack over the past year, there is a growing insecurity on safety and security. Government leaders are going to have to start actually attempting to do something instead of just holding summits or issuing press releases.

*** On the trail: Lincoln Chafee, Carly Fiorina, and Lindsey Graham are all in New Hampshire… Rand Paul campaigns in Michigan… Marco Rubio addresses the Right to Life Convention in New Orleans and then heads to Las Vegas… And Rick Santorum also addresses the Right to Life Convention.

OBAMA AGENDA: 21.5 million people

The State offers a tick-tock on how the vote to remove the Confederate flag came together.

The latest from the Eurozone, from the New York Times: "Only a day after grim predictions of financial and social collapse in Greece, a scramble appeared underway to work out the details of a new bailout package to bring the country back from the brink of falling out of the euro. As details of the new offer emerged, it appeared that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was capitulating to demands on harsh austerity terms that he urged his countrymen to reject in the referendum last Sunday, like tax increases and various measures to cut the costs of pensions."

That OPM hack compromised 21.5 million people, NBC News reports.

CONGRESS: Drama on the House floor

Alex Moe reports on the drama on the House floor Thursday around a pulled vote on a bill that included a measure to allow Confederate flag imagery on federal grounds in some cases.

OFF TO THE RACES: Bill and W -- together

Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton gave a joint interview to USA Today and spoke about the relationship between their respective relatives running for president. ""I know Jeb will treat Hillary with respect, and I'm confident Hillary will treat Jeb with respect," Bush said. "I'm not sure I can speak that highly of some of the surrogates they may have out there, but these two surrogates will."

At an event in Dallas, the two men also ribbed each other about being "long in the tooth."

The Wall Street Journal asks: "One detail getting some attention from Republican campaign strategists in the run-up to 2016 is a rule the party adopted in 2012 requiring its presidential candidates to win more than half the delegates in eight states to qualify for the nomination. That may seem like a low threshold, especially in a race featuring an obvious front-runner, but in a field as crowded as this one, winning a majority of delegates in any state might prove trickier than usual. And there is nothing usual about this race, given the 16 or more Republicans seeking the nomination."

BUSH: He announced a combined $114 million fundraising haul between his campaign and Right to Rise super PAC.

Perry Bacon Jr explains what that big number does -- and doesn't -- mean.

The Washington Post reports on his big fundraising confab in Kennebunkport.

CHRISTIE: He is out with his first TV ad, cut from his unscripted announcement speech. "I am not looking to be the most popular guy, who looks in your eyes every day and tries to figure out what you want to hear, say it, and then turn around and do something else," he says. "I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. And that’s what America needs right now."

CLINTON: The Washington Post notes how her vow to fight for tighter gun controls is a departure from past Democratic presidential candidates.

Clinton “will meet privately this month with leaders of the nation's largest labor federation as she seeks to prevent a revolt by union members infuriated by her cautious stance on a looming trade deal, labor sources told Reuters.”

CRUZ: The New York Times won’t put his book on the bestseller list, citing bulk buys.

SANDERS: In a lengthy piece on Bernie Sanders, POLITICO Mag writes that his choice to live in Vermont "allowed him to focus on what fueled him without being forced to discuss publicly significant details about his personal life – like his meager finances, his bare-bones living arrangement, and the fact that the mother of his one biological child is not his ex-wife." MORE: "That’s a surprise to some who have known him for decades. It’s also very much a product of an unwritten compact between Sanders, his supporters and local reporters who have steered clear rather than risk lectures about the twisted priorities of the press."

TRUMP: The New York Times looks at how GOP leaders are paralyzed by indecision about what to do about Donald Trump.

WALKER: The Weekly Standard reports: "When Scott Walker formalizes his presidential run Monday with a long-anticipated announcement, he will have at his side a seasoned veteran of Republican politics and an architect of the modern conservative movement. THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that Walker is expected to name Michael Grebe as campaign chairman as early as Friday. Grebe’s role, while not unexpected, is nonetheless a coup for Walker, who has firmly established himself as a first-tier candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination. Grebe served as chairman of both of Walker’s bids for governor, as well as Walker’s 2012 recall election – so he knows the candidate well."

And around the country...

FLORIDA: NBC’s Alex Jaffe talked to Senate candidate Alan Grayson, who says “one reason why Democrats are willing to crawl over hot coals naked to vote for me is because I'm willing to tell the truth”

PUERTO RICO: The Washington Post gives an in-depth look at how Washington helped create Puerto Rico's financial woes. 

Additional reporting by Mark Murray and Carrie Dann.