By Cate Martel
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Jeb Bush on Tuesday night touted his showing, now just 0.3 percentage points out of a tie for third place, as a win.
“Last Monday night, when the Iowa caucuses were complete, they said the race was now a three-person race between two present senators and a reality TV star,” the former Florida governor told a group of supporters at his primary watch party here, references to Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzEven in defeat, Trump could harm the country irreparably Sanders steps up his attacks in homestretch 5 takeaways from the rush for campaign cash MORE (Texas), Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioNorth Korean official calls Trump idea of meeting 'nonsense' Senate candidate taunts Sanders: Why don't you endorse Alan Grayson? Carson: 'I would not want to be on the ticket or in the Cabinet’ MORE (Fla.) and former "Apprentice" host Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJimmy Carter: Trump 'tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism' Roger Stone looking into creating pro-Trump nonprofit: report Wesley Clark: 'No one knows' what Trump stands for MORE.
“And while the reality TV star is still doing well, it looks like you all have reset things.”
“We need someone who can defeat Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders aide: We're trying to open party to 'new blood' Poll: Most voters think Trump should release tax returns Poll: Clinton, Trump disliked by majority of Americans MORE,” Bush told the crowd, again motivating his supporters to shout his name.
“Not just Hillary Clinton. Apparently maybe Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders aide: We're trying to open party to 'new blood' Sanders to Larry David: 'I want you to keep your job' Clinton allies blame Bernie for bad polls MORE as well. Who knows?”
Sanders beat Democratic rival Clinton by about 20 points on Tuesday.
Bush’s communications director Tim Miller took Bush’s comments toward a step further, taking shots at leading finishers of the New Hampshire primary — Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — by name.
“Kasich ran a one-state campaign,” Miller told a group of reporters at the rally. “He does not have a viable path to the nomination at all, and he certainly does not have a viable path to success in South Carolina, a state where support of the military is critical.”
Miller chalked Trump’s big lead in the Granite State to the open primary where independents can vote with either ballot. “[Trump] obviously did very well tonight with independents but ... in states where it’s a Republican primary, Trump’s going to struggle.”
“After tonight, hopefully that’s a wake-up call to everyone to get on board.”
With 68 percent of precincts reporting, Bush was hovering at fourth place, 0.3 points away from tying Cruz for third place.