Stung by last debate, Bush says he’s prepping less for next one

November 4, 2015

Jeb Bush has heard all the talk about what he did wrong at the last debate of Republican presidential candidates.

His response: He’s going to do less debate preparation for the next debate and instead will just speak his mind.

“Less debate prep, more me being me,” he said.

Bush said this during a session the former Florida governor had with a group of reporters on his new “Jeb Can Fix It” campaign bus as it rolled through the colorful wonder of New Hampshire in the fall.

“I’m going to be myself by saying what’s on my mind,” Bush said, as he munched on strips of Paleo-compliant turkey jerky.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush departs the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office conference room after participating in a roundtable discussion with law enforcement in Goffstown, New Hampshire, November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl

Bush’s dreary debate performance in Colorado contributed to a fresh drop in his favorability numbers among Republican voters.

Now he’s challenging reporters to be the first to write a story about his political comeback. He woke to the news that a Quinnipiac University poll gave him only 4 percent support among Republican voters nationwide.

He’s been drawing sizable crowds in New Hampshire, whose first-in-the-nation primary is on Feb. 9, and he is committed to returning to the state over and over again in the coming weeks.

On his bus, Bush said his challenge is to “be better as a performer on the debate stage.”

“I do pretty good when I’m out with real people interacting with them, have fun doing it. But the debate process is different,” he said.

Bush goes into the next debate, on November 10 in Milwaukee, aware that he needs to hold his own. His plan is to do what other candidates do: Say what they want to instead of actually answering the question that is posed to them.

“It’s not a debate. It’s a chance to be able to say what you think. So I’m going to take advantage of that,” he said.

Bush has been taking greater aim at fellow Floridian, Senator Marco Rubio, lately, but an attack on Rubio’s Senate voting record in Boulder backfired when his former mentor had a nimble response.

Bush would not bite when asked about Rubio’s financial history, a question that came up in the Colorado debate and has since given rise to several news reports about Rubio’s financial past.

“A candidate running for president that has a chance to be president will be thoroughly vetted,” he said.

But he was willing to point out that Rubio has not had dramatic success during his brief time in Washington.

“One bill he sponsored turned into law,” Bush said.

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