Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) campaign unloaded on presidential rival Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) in a document leaked Thursday.
US News & World Report’s David Catanese obtained the 112-page document, which was presented to top donors ahead of Wednesday’s CNBC debate.
Inside its pages was internal polling data and other information meant to showcase the Bush campaign’s strength despite middling public polling numbers.
Notably, part of the document drew sharp contrast between Bush and Rubio, who is labelled a “risky bet” against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential front-runner.
Among other things, the document hit Rubio for: having “no accomplishments” and “no credible experience beyond government,” for having a weak campaign message, for misusing Florida Republican Party funds for personal use, for ties to a scandalized former congressman and a billionaire benefactor, and for having a possibly questionable background.
Here’s the list of attacks:
- No accomplishments, negating hit against Hillary Clinton.
- Marco’s “tomorrow versus yesterday” argument will be widely ridiculed by media while running against “first woman president.”
- Misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera takes away line of attack on Hillary Clinton.
- Closeness to Norman Braman, who doubles as a personal benefactor raises major ethical questions.
- Outside of lobbying and legal consulting, no credible experience beyond government.
- Never been in charge of anything larger than two dozen people.
- Those who have looked into Marco’s background in the past have been concerned with what they have found.
Bush and Rubio were allies in Florida politics when they both worked in Tallahassee. But as Bush has faced a tougher-than-expected road to the 2016 Republican nomination, he has steadily escalated his criticism of Rubio, who has fired back with more subtle shots — at least publicly.
The gloves truly came off during Wednesday’s debate, where Bush slammed Rubio for missing a large number of Senate votes and called for him to do his day job or resign from the Senate. But Rubio deftly parried the attack by telling Bush “someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”
Political pundits widely proclaimed the Bush broadside as ineffective, but the former governor doubled down on his Rubio criticism Thursday during a Fox News interview.
“The point is that pursuing your own ambitions at the expense of service of others is the wrong way to go. Marco is my friend,” Bush said.
“This is not personal. I am not attacking his character,” he later insisted. “I’m just saying that people need to show up to work to vote. They need to show up. They need to use their office to help their constituents.”
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