I officially feel sorry for Jeb Bush.

In the wake of the CNBC debate, I said without hesitation (for about the 55th time) that he simply doesn’t want to be president. I’ve seen nothing out of him that convinces me he really wants this.

(This is one of those “feature/bug” scenarios. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that he doesn’t want the White House—I wouldn’t—other than the fact that he’s wasting his and our time with a multimillion dollar campaign.)

The Bush campaign has gone from lukewarm, to tragedy, and finally to farce—but they’re not done yet.

We have a new slogan: “Jeb Can Fix It.”

Read this report from the AP while I rub my temples and quietly pray for 2017:

“This is not about big personalities on the stage. It’s not about talking. It’s about doing,” the two-term Florida governor told supporters in Jacksonville, the last of three stops for the day.

His remarks, repeated earlier in Tampa and Orlando, were obvious jabs at rivals Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, and a nod to his flat performance in the debate last week in Colorado.

Bush’s reset comes as a populist surge has propelled the outsider campaigns of bombastic developer Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — and created an opportunity for Rubio, a freshman senator from Florida and former Bush protege, to make his appeal to the party establishment.

Surrounded Monday by friends and former colleagues, Bush delivered a morning speech in Tampa that amounted to re-declaring his candidacy, without changing his message or significantly altering his campaign strategy. Bush recently announced an across-the-board cut in salaries to protect his available campaign cash for the final charge into Iowa.

“But let me be clear: I’m not stepping into the role of ‘angry agitator’ that they have created for us, because it’s not what’s in my heart,” Bush said, a nod to the frustration Trump has stoked.

Jeb Bush did a good job of defending himself and his flailing campaign during one-on-one interviews…

…but got savaged on Twitter over the slogan retool:


I can relate with Bush’s desire to lay out the bullet points/keep things calm/be the adult in the room—but it’s just not working. The RCP average has him trailing Trump, Carson, Rubio, and Cruz with an anemic 6.5%. The latest national polling numbers from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal has him doing a little better at 8%, but he’s still trailing Rubio (11%) and Cruz (10%), both of whom have defined themselves on the same national stage that Jeb keeps tripping over.

This campaign reboot will only give Bush a bump if he also reboots his entire approach to the 2016 campaign, the field, and the American people.

That being said, if there’s a political mercy rule, it may be time to invoke.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


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