July 14, 2015

LONELY TIER:

In New Hampshire With Jeb Bush (Ira Stoll, 7/09/15, Future of Capitalism)

HUDSON, N.H. -- Watch Jeb Bush in action taking questions from New Hampshire voters at a town hall-style campaign event here, and it becomes clear pretty quickly why he's considered a first-tier candidate, maybe even the front-runner, at this stage of the Republican presidential campaign.

The campaign has the little things down. The formal portion of the event takes precisely an hour, and the candidate leaves the event as scheduled at exactly 8 p.m. The sound system works perfectly. As voters leave the event, there's a table with stacks of bright white t-shirts, in a variety of sizes, with the red "Jeb!" logo. When someone asks if they are for sale, the person staffing the table replies with the Granite State motto --"Live Free or Die." Other campaigns sell tchotchkes and apparel to make money; the Jeb Bush campaign is well funded enough to give the gear away to build goodwill.

The candidate himself is no slouch, either. No teleprompter, podium, or formal text for Jeb Bush, who, even on a night the Red Sox are playing, draws a crowd of more than 150 people to a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in this southern New Hampshire town near the city of Nashua and the Massachusetts border.

Bush, the former governor of Florida, shirt open at the collar and sleeves rolled up, portrays himself in his opening remarks as a kind of fix-it-man who can repair a Washington that is "incompetent and corrupt."

"We can grow at 4% instead of this anemic new normal of 2%," he says, a theme he returns to again and again throughout the hour. He speaks of fixing "how we tax," "how we regulate" and "a broken immigration system," and of unleashing a domestic "energy revolution."

He talks about his record as governor of Florida, which, like New Hampshire, had no income tax. "I cut taxes every year," he says. "Cutting $19 billion of taxes in eight years took some doing."

Posted by at July 14, 2015 3:31 PM
  

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