Presidential races

Team Bush tells donors: Marco is a GOP Obama

Jeb Bush’s campaign team is striking at presidential rival Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in its harshest terms yet, telling wealthy donors, “Marco is a GOP Obama.”

The provocative charge is part of a 45-slide PowerPoint presentation that is being shown to donors assembled at a Houston hotel for a two-day Bush campaign retreat.

{mosads}The section about Rubio — presented on Monday morning by Bush’s campaign manager Danny Diaz — suggests that Bush’s team views his fellow Floridian as its most serious rival in the establishment lane for the Republican nomination. 

On a slide titled “Experience Matters,” Diaz states: “We need to offer a contrast to the current President. Hillary will pitch competence and experience. Marco is a GOP Obama.”

The slide continues: “Rubio and President Obama have strikingly similar profiles: first-term senators, lawyers and university lecturers, served in part-time state legislatures for eight years, had few legislative accomplishments, and haven’t shown much interest in the process of advancing legislation and getting results.” 

Another slide jabs at Rubio over endorsements, with a headline stating that “those closest to Marco choose Jeb.” 

The slide details how politicians from Florida, including a number serving in the state legislature where Rubio served as Speaker, have endorsed Bush for president. 

Some 150 of Bush’s biggest donors were shown the PowerPoint presentation on Monday, part of a concerted effort to convince them that the campaign is not in the dire place portrayed by national polls and the media.

Slides provided to The Hill show that top Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw began with “5 things you need to know right now” about the state of the campaign.

The first point provided a rebuttal to negative stories following Friday’s announcement that the Bush campaign would cut its payroll costs nearly in half.

“Press obsession with process will not determine primary outcome,” the slide states.

The next PowerPoint slide indirectly addresses Bush’s disappointing poll numbers, emphasizing that the “race will remain fluid for some time” because “voters have not decided yet.”

Under the headline “Fundamentals Matter,” the Bush campaign trumpets its grassroots organizing efforts. The slide talks up Bush’s eight early-voting state offices, his 37 early-voting state staffers, and the “over one million direct, targeted voter contacts” by the campaign.

A later slide, titled “Cash Matters,” compared Bush’s campaign bank account favorably to Rubio’s, and to the position that Arizona Sen. John McCain found himself in at the same stage in the 2008 election on his way to the GOP nomination.

But in a message seemingly at odds with the outsider messages propelling GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the Bush campaign boasted that “Jeb has more endorsements from Members of Congress than any other candidate in the race, including the four sitting U.S. Senators running.”

Following Bradshaw’s presentation, Bush staffers walked donors through a detailed plan, which included favorable comparisons to rival candidates in terms of superior advertising spending (most of it by the pro-Bush super-PAC Right to Rise), grassroots organization, and “the most sophisticated GOP analytics effort ever.”

To make up for Bush’s lagging in polls behind his Republican primary rivals, the campaign team showed recent Quinnipiac University polling that indicated Iowa voters see Bush as “more presidential than Trump” and national polling that showed him winning a head-to-head match-up against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John McCain Marco Rubio
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