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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jeb Bush strategist complains about Rubio: Where's the beef?



Jeb Bush's super PAC is turning attention to Marco Rubio and seems poised to attack Rubio's lack of big accomplishment.

That's the takeaway from a Bloomberg News interview with Bush advisor Mike Murphy (first part published yesterday)

It does seem as though, in your theory of the race, Rubio will be the biggest obstacle to being where you want to be on March 16.

The second and third look are going to be very tough on Marco Rubio. That’s just a prediction.

And that’s based on his record?

Based on: there’s not a lot there record-wise. I’m a Marco donor, I was one of his first donors when he ran for the Senate, I’m glad he did—Marco’s always had incredible possibilities. But he needs more time to reach them. Because we look at his record, I think we’re finding what the American voters are, that there’s not a lot. He hasn’t done much. This was the challenge both Hillary and McCain faced in running against Obama in 2008. Running against the absence of a record is probably a lot harder than running against stuff on the record that more obviously a negative. I think so, but it’s easier post-Obama than before because we’ve had the Less Filling, Tastes Great great experiment. Now we’ve got the terrible security situation of the world and two presidential terms where the middle class has gotten very little, more pain than anything else. So I think we’ve tried to pick “what’s behind pretty curtain number three” and then we found that it was an empty box there. So we’ll see.

Is there anything in particular in Rubio’s record or background that you feel is a vulnerability but hasn’t gotten media attention?

Well, I think Rubio’s been in this position of promising I’m going to be great eventually and not held to anything. Rubio can be up or down, nothing matters. None of the yardstick being applied to us is being applied to Rubio.

Isn’t that a testament to the fact that the Rubio’s campaign did a better job than Jeb’s of setting low expectations and deflecting media scrutiny as a result?

No, I think it’s just low stakes, you know? Rubio’s kind of an also-ran and everybody’s waiting for the golden moment. So now, if this is his golden moment, let’s take the second look. Why is he running television ads in all three early states and nationally that are paid for by mystery donors? Has he ever been even asked that question? I don’t think the media understand, it’s $6 million, nobody’s done that with (c)(4) money. We think (c)(4)s are totally appropriate. We have one. We’re proud of it. But it's basically been focused on policy research and things like that, not on television ads that are thinly disguised campaign ads. Rubio's entire spend has been that so far, $6 million all secret donors. It kind of stuns me that he's gotten away with that in the media.

So I think now is the time for Rubio to get out there and show some substance and perform a little bit. Second look.

When will voters start to hear about those contrasts with other candidates from your ads?

Well, I’m not going to get into our exact strategy but I think a little bit later in the race this year.

This year, you said.

I mean, I would not be surprised if we moved to that phase this year, yeah.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 10:55am]


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