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POLITICO CONFIRMS: Jeb Bush’s Campaign Is Smoking Wreckage

Jeb! => Jeb? => Jeb:(

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So yesterday, Erick Erickson, writing at The Resurgent, broke the story that the Bush Campaign was about to pack it in.

Erick wrote:

his is pretty remarkable. Sources close to the Bush campaign are beginning to leak about a call last night. I’m told the Bush team is out of money. Pay for campaign staff will end on Saturday. The campaign is all but over.

Additionally, after having hundreds of millions of dollars on hand, the Bush Super PAC has less than $15 million from what I am being told.

This caused the Bush campaign to come out of its somnolent stagger long enough to deny it:

  Today, POLITICO, following Erick’s lead, has more:

Some of Jeb Bush’s most steadfast allies think Saturday might be the end.

Donors, who poured millions into his campaign and super PAC, have stopped giving – one refusing a direct request to raise $1 million this week. Bush himself is hitting the phones, pleading for patience with his most influential supporters. And even some of his confidants are suddenly dejected after a dispiriting week capped off by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley rejecting Bush in favor of Marco Rubio.

“What a kick in the balls,” said one of Bush’s closest supporters and one of the more than a dozen major Bush donors interviewed for this story.

The Bush team had been banking on a strong week, believing their candidate’s first solid debate performance last weekend would move the numbers in South Carolina. They thought bringing in George W. Bush on Monday night would generate more enthusiasm and positive earned media than it did. They held out hope that the former president could convince Haley, who’d hedged on backing Rubio after his slip in New Hampshire, to support a fellow governor.

But none of it panned out.

“The Haley endorsement just hurt,” said a Florida-based fundraiser who is close to Bush and had up to now remained optimistic about his chances. “We felt we had some momentum after New Hampshire. And Jeb was feeling good about his brother. But it wasn’t as good as we thought it would be. Then this happened.”

The fact that Bush thought Haley would endorse him when Gowdy and Scott had endorsed Rubio and when she had flirted with a Cruz endorsement shows the Bush campaign is delusional, operating, Willie Loman-like, “riding on a shoeshine and a smile,” rather than objectively assessing either their strategy or their chances. Note this tidbit:

On a donor conference call Wednesday night hours after the Haley endorsement, the mood was even more grim. Bush himself wasn’t on the line when one donor asked about the cash situation. They were told that the Right to Rise super PAC has $15 million left in the bank. The implication, however, “was that the hard money is about used up,” said one donor. At the beginning of the week, Jack Oliver, the Washington attorney heading up the campaign’s fundraising efforts, was calling campaign bundlers. The “ask” to one Texas bundler: Can you raise $1 million this week? The answer was no. “Every single person who can write a $2700 check has already written it,” one Florida-based Bush donor said. “I think they’d like to keep going, I just don’t think they can.”

Compare this with Erick’s reporting. And then there is this:

On Thursday, Bush’s communications director Tim Miller shot down reports that the campaign held a call informing staff that it would be out of money as early as Saturday. To the contrary, the campaign just made an additional six-figure investment in voter contact efforts for phone banks and digital and radio advertising due to money raised at three separate events this week, according to Miller.

Keep in mind, this is the same guy who said there was no call. Also Erick’s reporting didn’t say the campaign would be out of money, only that staff would stop being paid. The additional money into last minute advertising does not contradict the story in anyway. The issue is how much money the Bush campaign has on Sunday and how much it can raise on Monday. I suspect the answers to those two questions are “not much” and “little to none.”

The subtitle was shamelessly stolen from one of our commenters.

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