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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is Jeb rusty/unprepared for the national stage?



It's one thing to make an off-hand comment that requires backpedalling or clarification on a hot-button issue. It's another to co-author a book on a controversial and then kick off a publicity tour that prompts much of the political world to question not only your position, but your motives.

Jeb Bush, who pushed the 2016 presidential door wide open this week, sat for a host of national interviews this week that made him look like a cross between Mitt Romney - flip-flopper - and Rick Perry - having to walk back what he wrote in his own book. The former governor who used to support a pathway to citizenship for unocumented immigrants wrote in Immigration Wars co-authored by Clint Bolick, that instead of citizenship he now supports a pathway to legal residency.

That prompted complaints that he was undercutting immigration reform efforts already underway in Washington and/or positioning himself for a GOP presidential primary. Before long, Bush was explaining that, contrary to what he wrote, he is comfortable with either a pathway to citizenship or legal status.

Should he decide to run for president, Bush would likely be an instant frontrunner. But his clumsy publicity tour underscored that for all his self-condidence, political pedigree, and skills, Jeb Bush is still untested on the national stage and unaccustomed the national media meat grinder.

First Read put it well today:"Here’s something to remember about Bush: He hasn’t run a race since 2002 (before Facebook, Twitter, and more partisan media). And the backlash he’s received in the past 24 hours could either convince him that he doesn’t have the stomach for a run, or it could steel him for what to expect over the next three and a half years."

 When Bush and other potential presidential contenders appear next week at the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference, spectators may also be surprised to see that Jeb Bush is not nearly as powerful a speaker as, say, Marco Rubio.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 3:09pm]


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