Earlier this week it was reported that Right to Rise USA, the super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, was about to launch its first big ads buys. The campaign insisted that this was unrelated to Bush’s stagnating poll numbers following an unmemorable first debate performance.
The campaign will have a harder time denying that Jeb’s new strategy is unrelated to slipping position in the polls. While in New Hampshire yesterday, Bush went after Donald Trump, who now leads in New Hampshire by a commanding margin, somewhere between 5 and 17 points.
Bush so far has declined to attack Trump, preferring to appear above it all and the adult in the room. It hasn’t caught on so far. According to The Washington Post, Trump, who was at his own townhall meeting in New Hampshire at the time, joked that Bush was so “low-energy” that the audience was “sleeping.”
Bush, for his part, acknowledged the “amazing job” Trump has done getting to the top of the GOP field, saying he “has clearly got talent.” But he went on to criticize Trump’s past political stances.
“Mr. Trump doesn’t have a proven conservative record,” he said. “He was a Democrat longer in the last decade than he was a Republican. He has given more money to Democrats than he’s given to Republicans.”
Bush then pointed to Trump’s immigration plan as evidence that he is not a true fiscal conservative, saying, “Even on immigration where…the language is pretty vitriolic for sure. But hundreds of billions of dollars of costs to implement his plans is not a conservative plan.”
Bush’s case for himself was that of a consistent track record. “This is going to be my pitch,” he said. “Let’s support someone who you don’t have to guess where he stands because he’s consistent, because he’s been governor he’s consistently had the views that he has.”
It remains to be seen if Bush’s anti-Trump language will have an effect or if he will continue it in the second Republican debate, coming up in a little less than a month.