Bush promises to improve, just needs more testing time



Jeb Bush has had a revelation: he has to do better. He didn't know that before, and certainly not after the first two debates, and not after his enormous slide in the polls. But the important thing is, he knows it now.

“I could have done better,” Bush conceded on a conference call Thursday afternoon with top donors and state chairs, according to a person who participated.

Note Jeb said he could have done better. But he didn't. So it seems he purposely chose not to. Does he really expect the Presidency to just be handed to him? Watch these Bush surrogates try to cover for him:

Sig Rogich, a longtime Bush family adviser who now leads the former governor’s Nevada campaign, said Bush was visibly uncomfortable going on the attack. But Rogich expressed confidence that the candidate can show the toughness that is required.

“His gentlemanly manner got in the way of tough, gnarly debate activity. Everyone realizes it’s not a cream-puff situation up there,” Rogich said. “He understands where the campaign is right now, and I think he’ll act accordingly.”

Do we really want a President who is afraid of a tough, "gnarly" debate?

Returning to the campaign trail Thursday afternoon in Portsmouth, N.H., Bush brushed aside the most dire predictions. “It’s not on life support,” he told reporters. “The end is not near. Memo to file.”

Memo to file? Bush is declaring his candidacy is still alive... in memo form?

On the stump, beneath a banner that read “Jeb Can Fix It,” Bush drew a contrast between what it takes to perform in debates and what it takes to be president. “I wish I could talk as well as some of the people on the stage, the big personalities on the stage,” he said, “but I’m a doer.”

Bush is saying we don't need a president who can articulate his positions? Really? Perhaps if he were running for president of a deaf-mute republic. I think his banner should have more accurately said, "Jeb Is In A Fix".

“Jeb is often underestimated as a competitor,” said Sally Bradshaw, Bush’s closest adviser. “He’s in a time of testing right now. "

A time of testing? What has he been doing for the past few months? I think, given her shared responsibility for Bush's performance, Sally is in a time of testing too. Undoubtedly, as chief navigator of the Bush Titantic, she'll be chief of staff if Bush is elected.

“He’s not going to be the best debater, but he is the adult up there,” campaign adviser Austin Barbour said. “He is the most prepared to be president. He’s not a risk at this time.”

What does that mean, he's not a risk? Against Hillary, he would be a tremendous risk.

Bush’s loyal supporters, including some longtime friends, were aghast at the candidate they saw on the television screens. Gone, they said, was the optimistic message of economic empowerment that was to be the foundation of his campaign. Gone, too, was the confident competitor who dominated Florida politics during his two terms as governor.

Rick Wilson, a Florida-based strategist unaffiliated with a candidate, said: “For weeks, the money guys were with Jeb. Last night, those people were telling me, ‘I’m calling Marco’ or ‘I’m done’ or ‘That was absurd’ or ‘I’m finished.’

Obviously, they don't know that Bush is still in a time of testing. Perhaps they didn't read the memo addressed to the file. If Bush works hard, perhaps he can even get to third place in his home state of Florida.

Exit question: When will Bush quit?


  1. A) Before the next debate
  2. B) Right after the next debate
  3. C) Before New Hampshire
  4. D) Right after New Hampshire
  5. E) Never
(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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