One longtime Rubio supporter who backs Bush faulted Rubio’s campaign for the slip-up. He said they drove Rubio too hard and too long and he didn’t have enough sleep. In the days before New Hampshire primary, Rubio struggled to find his footing coming off as subdued and tired during some of his final campaign stops. Rubio also repeated himself, again, this time about family values in his last campaign rally in Nashua, N.H., before the primary.
“It was the pace. He couldn’t keep up,” the source said. “And then they doubled-down on it – tripled and quadrupled down on it afterward. That was surreal.”
But, the source added: “Jeb’s back, baby!”
In what universe does a fourth place finish mean you’re “back”? Jeb originally tried to win in New Hampshire or at least to compete for the top spots. And that’s not so strange: New Hampshire is Jeb territory: it’s a moderate and establishment-friendly state.
But Jeb didn’t perform well at all. He finished fourth, behind a solid conservative like Ted Cruz, and far, far behind establishment-puppet John Kasich. Yes, he beat Marco Rubio, but that isn’t a sign of Jeb’s strength, but of Marco’s weakness; he simply blew himself up during Saturday’s debate.
What’s more, Jeb spent more for his fourth place finish than the rest of the top 5 combined:
Rubio, Kasich, Trump and Cruz spent $31.8 million. Jeb and his Super PACs spent $36 million. That’s a $5 million gap, and Jeb still had to settle for fourth place behind a guy — Cruz — who spent 98% less than he did.
New Hampshire will likely be Rubio’s waterloo, but that doesn’t mean Jeb has made a comeback. The only thing it truly means is that this is now officially a two-man race: Trump versus Cruz.