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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bush strategist wants to 'hunt down' person who came up with 'shock and awe'



Mike Murphy wants to throttle the person who coined the term “shock and awe” to describe Jeb Bush’s fundraising machine.

“I’m going to hunt down whoever came up with that,” the longtime Bush strategist tells Bloomberg News.

Bush has been a dominant fundraiser on the super PAC side but his campaign has hit a rough patch as shown by the third quarter reports.

“The bigger story was: we showed a lot of financial strength but we always said the voter strength would build slowly because we had to go tell the story,” said Murphy, who runs the Right to Rise super PAC. “And somehow the punditocracy said, ‘Well, financial strength means you have to lead every poll and if you don’t you’re a loser.’ I think them being wrong about that is something that we’ve been held accountable. I don’t take it too seriously because I keep saying I think the polls are completely meaningless on a national basis, but it’s irritating noise.”

More from Sasha Issenberg’s interview:

You’re obviously more sanguine about Jeb Bush’s prospects. Explain to me why.

I’ve worked for him for 18 years. I know he builds slowly and gets better and better. You saw in the debates, the second debate was strong, he'll continue to improve, he's doing well on the stump now. He can outlast the noise, his candidate performance will be excellent, and we're an amplifier. Our job is just to amplify his story and what he's saying and we banked enough cash that nobody's turning our speaker off. And we're the only campaign in that situation and I think we are the campaign who can consolidate the winning largest lane in the party and do so in a way that can win the general election, which I think is unique only to Jeb. And if you look at the prediction markets overseas, which are kind of interesting, because that's the one place real money's involved, we constantly rank number one. The smart money's figured this out. What hasn't figured it out is the day-to-day cable punditry—but that's OK, that'll follow reality. So our job is to be tuned into reality and let that stuff catch up eventually. That’s kind of our theory.

How has Trump’s entry changed the race?

It created a false zombie front-runner. He’s dead politically, he'll never be president of the United States, ever. By definition I don't think you can be a front-runner if you're totally un-electable. I think there's there an a-priori logic problem in that.

Has he been dead since he got in?

I think so, yeah. So there's no meaningful outcome to it. But the question is what kind of catalyst is it? It's a huge amount of noise and so we're trying to find the signal in all this. You've seen Trump start to drop now. I think it'll be a very slow drop, but I think he'll continue to drop and the question is: is he ready to lose primaries, will he stay in? And nobody knows the answer to that.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 9:52am]


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