Presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio squared off in last night's GOP debate, and the list of contenders shrank by one in as many minutes.
Already slipping in the polls, one-time Republican front-runner Bush decided to come at Rubio for missing votes in the U.S. Senate to run for President.
The obviously premeditated hit was inspired by an editorial in South Florida's Sun-Sentinel that urged Rubio to resign from the Senate for this reason.
Yet the former Florida Governor was clearly grasping at straws, and was thoroughly owned by Rubio's response, which scored on so many levels:
- "I’m a constituent and you’re not doing your job for me,” to paraphrase Bush, is the personal complaint of a desperate whiner, not a leader.
- He sought an angle that voters don't care about and which Rubio had JUST COUNTERED EFFECTIVELY when the moderators raised the issue.
- Bush gave Rubio, whose #1 weakness is being pegged as an "establishment" guy, the gift of being attacked by the establishment guy.
- And getting to verbally whomp a robotic, uptight stiff at that.
Rather than taking a pass, Bush allowed Rubio to make a compelling argument twice, notching resounding wins over both CNBC and a key rival.
Pretty amazing, honestly.
While Donald Trump is winning in most polls, as his field of competitors contracts, support may coalesce around 1-3 Republicans, rather than 10.
At that point, he may have his work cut out for him, and Rubio has slowly but surely staked a claim to one of those spots as the race gets interesting.
Ironically, Bush will probably be urged by his small army of donors to follow his own advice to Rubio and resign ... from the 2016 presidential campaign.
And when those phone calls start coming in, they will likely also urge that the disgruntled Sunshine State constituent throw his support behind Rubio.