Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is shaking up his presidential campaign as its donors are reportedly beginning to fret about his chances.
Bush, once branded the Republican front-runner, appeared to show some of his frustration during Saturday a town-hall event in South Carolina.
Bush tore into Republican front-runner Donald Trump and declared that he had “a lot of really cool things I could do” other than running for president.
Here’s the full paragraph:
If this election is about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done, then I don’t want anything, I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation. I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to people demonize me, and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.
Political observers widely found Bush’s statement symbolic of how his star has dimmed. Instead of crushing the competition, Bush is slashing his payroll, hunkering down, and apparently lashing out at Trump.
That paragraph led The Washington Post’s Monday story titled: “Jeb Bush isn’t running so joyfully anymore.” CNN anchor Jake Tapper called the comments “really revealing.” The New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch labelled the paragraph “very close to the sound a towel makes when being thrown in.” And MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said on “Morning Joe” on Monday that he was “stunned” by the comment.
“It does raise a legitimate question: Does this guy have what it takes?” Scarborough asked.
On the other hand, there is some precedence for leading Republican candidates recovering their footing. In 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-South Carolina) tanked in the polls, slashed his campaign’s payroll, and ultimately surged to win the nomination.
“It did come across as a bit whiny,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a presidential candidate, said on “Morning Joe.” “At the end of the day, I think Jeb is a very viable candidate. He is re-engineering his campaign.”
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