Supporters worry as Jeb Bush campaign struggles on

By Ann Marie Awad
Supporters are worried about the struggling presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Supporters are worried about the struggling presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

SUMMERVILLE, S.C., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- After losing a key endorsement from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's resolve is wavering, and supporters have noticed.

Bush had campaigned for Haley and helped her develop her education policy. The Washington Post reported Bush enlisted his brother, former President George W. Bush, to meet with Haley on Monday seeking her support. But Haley instead endorsed Rubio, Bush's former protégé. Rubio's campaign started airing ads featuring Haley on Thursday.


Bush told supporters at a town hall meeting in Summerville, S.C., he was "disappointed," after news of the endorsement broke Wednesday evening. "She's a very good governor and should I win the nomination, there'll be a role for her in the campaign."

Earlier that night, Bush was uncharacteristically aggressive, slamming Rubio for having little foreign policy experience.

"For someone who has no experience at all to suggest I don't — having lived overseas, having worked overseas, developing relationships with leaders overseas, being governor of the fourth-largest state and being a commander in chief of the Florida National Guard," Bush railed at the crowd. "With all due respect, Sen. Rubio, your four years or five years, or whatever it is as senator, does not match up to my capabilities of understanding how the world works."


Wednesday's crowd, however, seemed more interested in advising Bush on how to run his campaign.

Edward Scott, 58, pushed Bush to "raise the bar in the next [debate] and try to be beyond the bullying," when it came to Republican front-runner Donald Trump. "It appears that you do get knocked off-center like anybody would because of the insults to you and your family."

"I don't think I feel shaken up by the bully," Bush shot back. "I'm the only guy going after the guy who I believe is hijacking the party."

More than one supporter pleaded with Bush to rise above the bickering. At one point, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who endorsed Bush after leaving the presidential race, came to Bush's defense.

"You tell me how you do that onstage, how you do that in 30 seconds," he said, referring to attacks Trump made on former President George W. Bush during the last GOP debate. "You tell me how you do that when someone just accused your brother of causing 9/11. Somebody just accused your brother of lying to the American people — but you talk about your healthcare plan? If you did that, you're losing 90 percent of the people in South Carolina because here's the way we are: If somebody insults our mom, our dad, our brother, we're going to pop you in the face. Figuratively. And maybe literally."


Politico reported Bush wrapped up the event on a down note.

"It's all been decided, apparently," he said. "The pundits have already figured it out. We don't have to go vote. I should stop campaigning maybe."

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