Tags: 2016 Elections | 2016 GOP | Jeb Bush

Bush Adviser: Jeb the One to Watch

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Tuesday, 10 Nov 2015 08:29 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If you listen to political commentators Jeb Bush is washed for 2016. But as the former Florida governor prepares for tonight’s debate that could be crucial to his candidacy, one of the closest political friends of the Bush family insists that “Jeb is in strong shape” and not to be counted out.

“I like the position we’re in now,” Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette, Bush’s campaign chairman in the Wolverine State, told me during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. “Jeb is in strong shape and he’s going to earn each day he’s on the campaign trail.”

When Schuette speaks about anything Bush, people listen.

The Midland, Mich., former congressman began his political career in 1979 as a field operative for the presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush. At the 1979 straw vote among Florida Republicans in Orlando known as “presidency one,” Schuette was a key player in Bush’s surprise second-place showing.

This helped catapult the former CIA director to be Ronald Reagan’s premier opponent for the presidential nomination the following year.

An early backer of Vice President Bush in his winning nomination battle in 1988, Schuette writes of the 41st president with warmth in his new book “Big Lessons From A Small Town.”

Among things he learned from Bush, Schuette cites the writing of personal thank-you notes to supporters big and small.

As for Jeb Bush’s now-precarious condition in the ongoing nomination battle, Schuette blames “the political pundits. They made him out to be a cinch in this race and you can’t do this when you start off with sixteen candidates. We’re talking about a marathon here, not a sprint.”

Michigan’s top legal official predicted that Bush would come on especially strong in his state’s presidential primary March 8.

“Look, he had more than 240 grass-roots activists at the [annual Republican] Mackinac Conference in Michigan a few weeks ago,” said Schuette, “and Jeb raised more than $500,000 during his last trip to Michigan.”

He also noted that Grand Rapids businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia, a player in the campaigns of the elder Bush in 1988 and George W. Bush in 2000, “has signed on with Jeb. And when Pete gets into something, he always does it in a big way.”

Schuette predicted Bush will be particularly strong in the historic GOP bailiwick of Oakland County, where backers include Rep. Dave Trott, longtime County Executive Brooks Patterson, and County sheriff Mike Bouchard.

The Bush family has had a mixed history in presidential campaigns when it comes to Michigan. In 1980, the elder Bush defeated Reagan by 2-to-1, which historians feel kept his campaign alive until the convention when he was tapped for vice president.

In 2000, George W. Bush lost the state to John McCain in an equally unexpected upset.

In assessing Bush’s strength in his home state, Schuette freely admitted that party leaders and activists are spread throughout the field of presidential hopefuls.

Former State Chairman Saul Anuzis, for example, heads Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s Michigan campaign, while Rep. John Moolenaar (who holds the Midland County seat once held by Schuette) is backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

“But we feel very good about Jeb in Michigan,” he added, “You watch. He’ll be chugging across the finish line March 8.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.






 

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If you listen to political commentators Jeb Bush is washed for 2016. As the former Florida governor prepares for tonight’s debate, one of the closest political friends of the Bush family insists that “Jeb is in strong shape” and not to be counted out.
2016 Elections, 2016 GOP, Jeb Bush
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2015-29-10
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2015 08:29 AM
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