Bush aims to just survive New Hampshire – Politico


His campaign is in overdrive. The family cavalry is en route. It may not be enough.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The pundits think he’s nearing the end. His donors are itching to jump ship. But Jeb Bush thinks he’s about to take the first step toward an unlikely comeback.

“You don’t have to listen to the pundits,” Bush told voters here. “In fact, you’ll figure it out for the pundits.”

The Bush campaign enters its last day before New Hampshire votes with the single aim of delivering a top-five performance that justifies pushing south, where they say they believe a better organization and a family rescue plan will drag his candidacy up from the cellar.

And with every 2016 front-runner wounded – Donald Trump failing to beef up a sub-par ground game after an embarrassing Iowa loss, Ted Cruz looking manipulative after duping Ben Carson’s supporters, and Marco Rubio’s over-rehearsed debate performance feeding the robotic stereotype he spent a campaign trying to shed – Bush’s team has newfound optimism, especially over the weekend as he saw the biggest crowds of his campaign here.

“Jeb’s network in South Carolina is just as strong as the other three candidates who are likely to survive,” said one long-time Bush donor, speaking privately. “He just has to get there.”

But even with a strong organization and family network of Bush loyalists streaming into New Hampshire, it’s a heavy lift. Just the mention of his name elicits laughs from Trump’s crowds. His deadpan aside to a town hall last week, asking them to “please clap,” exploded into an Internet meme seemingly encapsulating a fallen frontrunner’s sad predicament. In interviews over the last week, reporters have been asking if he’ll drop out should he do poorly here.

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