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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A 'crystalizing moment' puts Jeb Bush on the attack against Marco Rubio

Danny Diaz, Jeb Bush's campaign manager, in the spin room

Alex Leary | Times

Danny Diaz, Jeb Bush's campaign manager, in the spin room



MANCHESTER, N.H. - It was a "crystalizing moment" for Jeb Bush's campaign.

A day after Rick Santorum endorsed Marco Rubio, the former presidential candidate was on live TV fumbling and stumbling over a straightforward question: What has Rubio accomplished?

Santorum couldn't name anything, giving voice to persistent criticism about the first-term senator.

It "really allowed for an in-depth serious conversation," Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz said from the spin room after Saturday's debate in Manchester. "One that should have, taken place, frankly, earlier."

Bush had been steadily ramping up questions -- just before the debate he tweeted a side-by-side of his accomplishments vs. Rubio, a list that for Rubio only included immigration -- but why not go aggressive sooner?

"We’ve been saying it," Diaz said. "The media may not have been listening. I think they are listening to a greater degree today and we’ll take the opportunity to continue to repeat it."

Still, it was Chris Christie, not Bush, who dominated Rubio on Saturday.

Diaz said the campaign was "very satisfied" with Bush's performance and predicted Rubio's rough night would resonate. He suggest a media love affair with Rubio would fade.

"I don’t think it’s unfair for the media to step back from the way they’ve covered this race and actually look at these candidates, look at what they’ve done, and stop the sensationalism. We’re running for the higher office in the land. What you’ve done, what your plans are, your preparedness to answer questions and not repeat stock language should matter."

[Last modified: Sunday, February 7, 2016 10:42am]


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