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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jeb Should Let His Brother Defend Himself

Donald Trump put it bluntly at the last Republican debate when he told Jeb Bush: “Your brother and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama. It was such a disaster those last three months,” he said of George W. Bush’s administration, “that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected.”

Bush naturally defended his brother and has been in a back-and-forth with Trump ever since, although Jeb got himself in a bit of a bind a few weeks earlier when he didn’t flat out endorse his brother’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

For Jeb Bush, it’s the wrong issue at the wrong time – whether it’s Trump’s intention to knock him out of the race for good or just more grist for the media’s controversy mill. Voters still don’t look kindly on the Iraq war and continue to rate George W. Bush low on the list of presidents. So the last thing a struggling Jeb Bush needs to do is have his campaign focus on defending an unpopular president of recent memory.

It probably doesn’t help either that the latest controversy reminds voters that other guys named Bush have been in the White House. When Jeb formally announced his candidacy in June, 43% of voters said they were less likely to vote for him because his father and brother had both served as president.

Jeb Bush needs to snap out of it and get back to his positive agenda for the future. All the campaign contributions in the world won’t dig him out of the hole he keeps digging for himself.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Fran Coombs.