The Phaserl


Bush’s Media Corps Feels His Pain

As the ex-front runner struggles, he gets sympathy from an unusual quarter — reporters covering his campaign

by Hadas Gold, Politico:

At a recent campaign Jeb Bush event in South Carolina, three voters in a row who were supposed to be asking him questions instead started giving the gentle-spirited candidate, who once pledged to run a “joyful” campaign, advice on how to be sharper.

It felt more like an intervention than a town hall. Reporters sitting at a table reserved for the press recalled making rueful eye contact with each other, with the unsaid sentiment, “Poor Jeb.”

Bush has had the media’s pity for months now. Reporters following the Bush campaign insist that it’s not that they support him or are rooting for him at all. But there’s a level of personal sympathy for the former Florida governor, for the man who was supposed to be the front runner but hasn’t been close to the top in months.

One correspondent for a major television network opined in New Hampshire that Bush was supposed to be “the” candidate, the one with the pedigree, experience, and money to go the distance.

In addition, the correspondent said, Bush often does well on the ground with voters, but that has not translated to television in an election in which the front runner made his mark with reality TV.

“Yes, I feel badly for him. He’s hopelessly miscast in this race and, worst of all, he knows it,” wrote Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza in January.

GQ put together a list of “15 of Jeb Bush’s saddest moments” with the accompanying article “How Jeb Bush Lost His Political Mojo but Won Our Pity.”

Back in the long ago days of the summer of 2015, Bush was riding high. In June he took a five-day trip to Europe, replete with full traveling press corps who paid thousands a piece to join him as he attended meetings that included NATO briefings. It all looked very presidential.

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