In the wake of widespread campaign cuts and tumbling poll numbers, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is attempting to take control of his own narrative, quite literally, by releasing it online.
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His e-book, “Reply All,” a tome of his email from two terms as governor of Florida, will be released next Monday. The same week, Bush will also try to bolster a faltering campaign by launching a “Jeb Can Fix It” tour, all an effort to focus on his record as governor, an overarching principle of his campaign.
The tour begins in Tampa, Florida, next Monday with remarks from Bush on how he can “fix” Washington. The tour then moves to Orlando and Jacksonville that day. While in Florida, he’ll talk about the work he did with people with disabilities, as well as highlight his economic record.
Next, Bush moves onto crucial early primary states South Carolina and New Hampshire. While in New Hampshire, Bush will launch the first bus tour of his campaign, touring the state for two days.
"Jeb can fix Washington because he did it in Florida,” campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. “He is looking forward to traveling to early primary states in the coming weeks to tell that story and introduce voters to his record as the proven, conservative reformer in this race. No other candidate has a proven conservative record that can match Jeb’s, and that is a story we intend to tell.”
The tour will all come on the heels of this week’s pivotal moment for Bush, the third GOP debate, and one that is to be heavily policy-driven. Bush has released 10 different policy proposals, among the most of any GOP candidate.
It is a moment that could invigorate his fundraising efforts and enliven his own beleaguered campaign. The campaign announced last week that it was slashing costs, reducing salaries and letting some consultants go, citing a change in the “contours of this race” and nodding to Donald Trump’s rise in the polls.
In South Carolina Friday, Bush, 62, maintained that he was still firmly planted in this race and hit back on the notion that his “joyful” campaign may be no more.
"I got a lot of really cool things that I could do other than sit around and being miserable, listening to people demonizing me and me feeling compelled to demonize them, “ Bush said. "That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that!”
Aides within the campaign say this tour and Bush’s book will help position him as a clear alternative to Donald Trump, who some have characterized as showing “zero competence in the foreign policy arena,” and other candidates such as Ben Carson and Marco Rubio. In the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, Bush is ranked fourth, with 7 percent of support as the Republican nominee.
“Reply All,” they hope, will help tell his story. In it, readers are introduced to Jeb, the avid emailer, who often gave (and gives) out his email address and took the time to respond to many constituents that emailed him. In it are anecdotes of a governor; how he dealt with the eight hurricanes that hit during his tenure, uncomfortable conversations with a gay friend who’s fighting for the right to get married, letters from those who called him a “hero” and others who told him to “go back to Texas!” The e-book will be available exclusively through Amazon.
Along with the book and the tour, the campaign is releasing a new video, in the same vein as the newest video unveiled by Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Bush. The video, called “Make It Count,” almost entirely focuses on his tenure as governor, with former advisers, and Bush himself, speaking to his goals and drive to complete them as governor.
“I have a proven record,” Bush says in the video.
His campaign is hoping that it will be enough to sway voters and help Bush, once a front-runner, regain his footing once more.