Friday, October 30, 2015

Jeb Bush Seeks to Recover Momentum After Debate (VIDEO)

Good luck with that.

Jeb may be on the way out, or so they say.

At WSJ, "Former Florida governor stumps in New Hampshire, taps friends to join him on campaign trail":

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Republican Jeb Bush, a day after a widely panned presidential-debate appearance, stumped in the state on which he is increasingly pinning his White House bid next to a sign that said: “Jeb can fix it.”

The message was intended to suggest the former two-term governor of Florida can solve the nation’s problems. But the sign took on a double meaning Thursday as supporters fret about Mr. Bush’s ability to fix his own campaign, let alone America’s woes.

“Honestly, it’s frustrating,” said 39-year-old Zoe Daboul, who was among dozens of people at Mr. Bush’s speech in a small parking lot outside a sandwich shop. “He’s so intelligent and so capable, but on the big stages, it’s hard for that to show.”

The third nationally televised showdown, held in Boulder, Colo., left the crowded GOP primary race even more volatile than when the candidates lined up on the debate stage. It heightened pressure on Mr. Bush, a one-time front-runner, while boosting the candidacies of freshman Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

With no lone winner, it sustained underdog candidates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. And the primary’s two leaders in the polls, real-estate tycoon Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, emerged largely unscathed.

Veterans of presidential campaigns said postdebate shifts, even if they are incremental, can make a difference if candidates can build on them.

“A debate is like one act of a nine-act play, so even if you do something remarkable, it doesn’t last and you have to do something to sustain that,” said Republican lobbyist Charlie Black, who has advised GOP nominees from John McCain to Mr. Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, but hasn’t taken sides in the 2016 race.

Mr. Bush’s latest troubles began when his attack during the debate against his one-time ally, Mr. Rubio, backfired as the senator calmly and forcefully deflected criticism of his attendance record in the U.S. Senate by suggesting his rival was simply acting petty.

Mr. Rubio on Thursday reveled in favorable reviews of his debate performance, including his accusation that the media had become a Democratic super PAC, during appearances on a half-dozen television networks. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush spoke for only about eight minutes against the backdrop of the Piscataqua River and a collection of hay bales and lobster traps. He also was slated to attend a town-hall meeting in New London on Thursday night.

“It’s not about the big personalities on the stage,” Mr. Bush said. “It’s not about performance. It’s about leadership.”

Mr. Bush has been struggling for months to regain his front-runner status in the polls. Last week, his campaign announced across-the-board salary cuts and layoffs as staffers hunker down in the early-voting states.

The debate’s morning-after brought one gift that may be helpful in the Granite State: the endorsement of Judd Gregg, who served as U.S. senator and governor in New Hampshire. Mr. Gregg said Mr. Bush was the right choice because he can win, he is substantive and he can govern.

“Governing is not done from anger,” Mr. Gregg said in an implicit critique of some of Mr. Bush’s rivals. “You don’t stand in the corners and shout. You don’t accomplish anything doing that. Governing is done by working together in a system of checks and balances and leading.”

Still, Mr. Bush was forced to defend his candidacy from detractors who say his campaign is in trouble, or, as one reporter put it to him, “on life support.”
Still more.