Jeb Bush: Debate ‘report card’

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ryan Ellis at

Jeb didn’t get any gold stars this week. He didn’t even get a smiley-face sticker.

After tonight’s debate, Jeb Bush’s campaign crew have a lot of work to do if they want to right the ship. Not only did Bush have the least speaking time of all the candidates—6:39 vs. Carly Fiorina’s 10:32—but when he did speak, what he said did little to inspire.

Bush’s position was already compromised coming into the debate, as was highlighted in John Harwood’s comment: “The fact that you’re at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen.”

It seems that part of Bush’s effort to improve his stock involved taking stabs at his fellow Florida candidate, Marco Rubio. Referring to Rubio missing 12 percent of his votes, Bush said, “You should do your job.” Rubio was quick with a strong retort, though, citing a long list of candidates who missed a much larger percentage of their votes. Rubio went on to say that the only reason Bush brought it up was because they were running against one another and, “Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”

Part of the trouble with Bush’s arguments of the night was that he lacked the charisma and rhetorical wit that propelled Rubio to such a resounding success on the night’s debate. His statements brought mostly silence from the crowd, and other candidates’ responses to them frequently generated applause.

Bush’s closing statement didn’t inspire any reaction from the crowd.

“You want someone who has a proven track record; who was the governor of a state, and transformed the culture there, elect me so I can fight for the American people, and change the culture in Washington DC.” 

A tweet by Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, sums up Bush’s night very well. “Buy: Fiorina, Rubio, Walker. Sell: Trump, Bush, Carson.”

Ryan Ellis

Ryan is a South African born Zambian who came to Colorado to study English at CU. Before coming to CU, Ryan spent three years as a professional cyclist, and hosted an afternoon chat show on Zambian national radio station, Radio Phoenix.

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