Tags: jeb | rubio | bush | cruz

Bush's Attacks Weigh Hard on Rubio

Thursday, 11 February 2016 02:02 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The mood at the Radisson Hotel here was restrained Tuesday night, to say the least. Voters and volunteers who backed Senator Marco Rubio grew increasingly subdued as election returns showed him earning the No. 5 spot in the GOP presidential primary.

Rubio’s disappointing 10.6 percent finish must have surprised observers as seasoned as New Hampshire Union Leader editorial-page editor (and Chris Christie supporter) Grant Bosse. Over lunch at the Thirsty Moose Taphouse on Elm Street, he said on Tuesday afternoon: “I don’t think Marco will drop below third.”

No such luck.

Rubio himself acknowledged the problem. Despite the “Marcomentum” after he barely missed second place in the Iowa caucus, he then whiffed Feb. 6’s GOP debate.

“I know many people are disappointed,” Rubio admitted in the Radisson’s ballroom. “I want you to understand something. Our disappointment tonight is not on you, it’s on me. It’s on me. I did not do well on Saturday night. So, listen to this: That will never happen again.”

Rubio’s followers loudly cheered his display of personal responsibility for his self-inflicted wounds. His statement also was impressive in this age of widespread finger-pointing. Still, Rubio easily could have identified another font of his misfortune: the relentless, eight-digit attacks against him by former governor Jeb Bush. The latest pretender from the House of Bush won fourth place here. And he won it ugly.

According to media monitor SMG Delta, Bush’s super PAC, Right to Rise, spent roughly $10.2 million in New Hampshire slamming Rubio between Dec. 8 and election night. This included some $8 million in attack ads in January alone, or about $250,000 per day. Right to Rise broadcast more than 41 hours of anti-Rubio spots. This equals 4,920 half-minute commercials, all aimed at wrecking Rubio.

“My wife confirms that we received at least 15 anti-Marco mailings,” says Christopher Wolfe, former New Hampshire Republican Party treasurer. “There also were phone calls and very assertive Bush supporters knocking on the door and trying to arm wrestle her to support him. Yes, Bush was leading an all-out attack on Marco.”

Right to Rise’s anti-Rubio jihad earned a rebuke from the United States Senate’s most senior Republican.

“I would rather have any leadership PAC support the person they were formed to support, not by running down others,” Senate President pro tem Orrin Hatch told The Hill. “I would not do that. I’d tell them to do things that support Jeb.”

While Rubio did not leave his Republican rivals unmentioned, he generally ran a positive campaign. He concentrated on how he would reinvigorate America’s promise and potential, by untethering the republic from the deadweight loss that is Washington, D.C.

Some 500 voters on Monday night braved steady snow, brisk breezes, and temperatures in the 20s to see Rubio at Nashua Community College’s gymnasium. Respecting Mother Nature, volunteers wore badges that read, “Freezin’ for Our Future.”

Characteristically, Rubio focused his fire on Democrats, rather than Republicans.

“Bernie Sanders is a socialist — nice guy — a nice socialist,” Rubio said. “But he’s a socialist. We can’t go down the road to socialism. People come to this country to get away from socialism.”

“Hillary Clinton tonight,” Rubio added, “the FBI confirmed that they are investigating the usage of her emails. We cannot elect a president that’s under FBI investigation.”

As the action heads south, will Rubio sharpen his machete and go after his former mentor?

“South Carolina is gonna be a bloodbath,” one Rubio aide predicted to Politico.com “Jeb and his people wanted to attack Marco in New Hampshire about abortion? Let’s see how that plays down there. And then there’s Common Core,” Washington’s top-down scheme to control neighborhood schools. Bush would save it. Rubio would scrap it.

Southern gentility likely will be scarce between now and Feb. 20’s Palmetto State primary. For now, though, the Granite State taught Marco Rubio that nice guys finish fifth.

Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Read more reports from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.

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The Granite State taught Marco Rubio that nice guys finish fifth.
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Thursday, 11 February 2016 02:02 PM
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