- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Donald Trump told struggling Republican presidential hopefuls to pack it in and drop out of the race in a Tuesday press conference where the billionaire businessman showcased his off-the-cuff style, drawing a stark contrast with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s attempt at a campaign reset just a day earlier.

Mr. Trump demanded better treatment from the TV networks hosting the presidential debates, insisted he’ll find ways to make Mexico pay for a new border fence and took swipes at fellow candidates’ proposals, personal finances and campaign styles. In all, he fielded more than two dozen questions from the press at a book signing for his new volume, “Crippled America,” at Trump Tower in New York.

He also welcomed the intense protests over his upcoming appearance hosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, saying it will only serve to boost ratings.

And he managed yet another withering attack on Mr. Bush’s low-energy campaign when a reporter asked him to do an impression of his competitor.

“Nah, I don’t want to do that. I don’t like showing a person sleeping at a podium,” Mr. Trump said, eliciting laugher from the crowd.

It’s all part of the persona that’s shot Mr. Trump to the top of the Republican field and sent Mr. Bush tumbling to the middle of the pack as he suffers by comparison to the reality TV star.


SEE ALSO: White House says Paul Ryan won’t risk shutdown over lingering budget issues


Analysts are still marveling at the change in positions between Mr. Bush, the next offering from a political dynasty that thought it had a clear shot at the GOP nomination, and Mr. Trump, a bombastic businessman whose campaign was at first written off as a sideshow.

Both of those scenarios could still pan out. But less than 90 days out from the opening nomination contest in Iowa, GOP analysis and political observers say that it is clear that Mr. Bush is struggling to adapt to the fast-paced, sound bite, television-dominated culture of modern politics, while Mr. Trump is flourishing in it, and benefiting from an electorate that is craving a new type of politics.

“The difference between Bush and Trump is, despite being older, Trump actually gets that it is the 21st century,” said Mike McKenna, a GOP strategist. “He understands that basically everything is on camera, and everything is brand management and you have to be aware of your brand position at all times.”

Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said, “Trump and Bush are from parallel universes.”

Bush plays by the old rules of politics that existed when he and other family members were elected to office,” Mr. Sabato said. “He’s sober, serious, wonky, and as he himself admits, boring. He radiates insider-dom and the traditional establishment.”

Trump is celebrity powered and social media fueled, uninterested in policy details, populist and anything but boring,” he said. “Trump’s tongue is a deadly weapon, while Bush so far has been the least compelling speaker in his family.”

That contrast was clear this week. Mr. Bush admitted he’d been swamped by advice from consultants and pundits and had tried to be a different candidate, to disastrous results.

He was apparently talking about his debate performance last week, when he telegraphed an attack on fellow candidate Sen. Marco Rubio’s voting record in Congress, only to have Mr. Rubio, a fellow Floridian, eviscerate him in reply.

Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based GOP strategist, said Mr. Bush must come to grips with the fact that television is the prism through which may voters get much of their information.

“What comes across as human in person, or endearing in person in small group situation — on TV can be horrible.” Mr. Carney said.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, made clear Tuesday he does not suffer from hewing to consultants’ advice, nor from a deficit of personality.

He called Mr. Rubio a “disaster” on his personal finances, said the networks hosting the presidential debates should donate profits to wounded troops — something he said he’ll do with profits from his new book — and gave campaign advice to fellow candidates struggling in the polls.

Without naming names, he said those who aren’t able to clear the 2 percent support level at this point should give up, giving voters a better look at the remaining field.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide