BOULDER, Colo. — Jeb Bush’s campaign manager was besieged by reporters wondering if his candidate’s campaign was on the brink of total collapse Wednesday night.
A cocky and often-winking Danny Diaz tried to assure reporters after the third GOP debate that all is well and that his candidate would be victorious in the end.
“I think we’re in for the long haul and we’re in to win, but I appreciate the question,” a smirking Diaz told The Daily Caller in the spin room when asked what he thinks the chances are Bush will still be in the race by the time of the Iowa caucuses.
When a reporter asked him how Bush’s mood was after the debate, Diaz replied with the not very enthusiastic, “He appreciated the opportunity.”
“And you know what, we head to New Hampshire tomorrow, get to work, campaigning again with the best organization in the Granite State, working every day to get out the vote and win the nomination,” he added.
Asked by a reporter what lesson he thinks “nervous” Bush donors should take away from a debate performance most considered totally lackluster, Diaz said, “I think what lessons they should take away is that Jeb Bush is the best candidate in the field with the best record and the best vision. We’re going to win the nomination and we’re excited about the opportunity to talk tonight, tomorrow night and the next one.”
Diaz expressed little concern about the state of the campaign and suggested no major strategic shifts were in the works.
“I’m glad you asked that question. I think he needs to continue to talk about the best conservative record of accomplishment,” Diaz told TheDC when asked what he makes of the tenor of the negative questions being asked about the campaign and Bush’s debate performance by reporters.
When TheDC pointed out that strategy doesn’t seem to be working as Bush has dropped drastically in the polls since the summer, Diaz replied, “Currently in New Hampshire we’re third. In our bracket — we’re first in our bracket.”
“We’ve got more work to do,” he added. “This hasn’t been decided. Forty-six percent of New Hampshire voters decide in the last week. Stick with us, brother. We’ll be good.”
Expectations going into the debate were that Bush had to perform well to reassure nervous donors that the former governor has what it takes to win the Republican nomination. Since leading in many polls at the beginning of the year, Bush has dropped to fourth nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, behind Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, and just barely edging Ted Cruz.
During an appearance in South Carolina last week, the former Florida governor did not appear like a candidate who was on the verge of winning the Republican nomination.
“If this election is about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done, then I don’t any part of it,” Bush, who once said he wanted to run a joyful campaign, said. “I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people are literally in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation. I have a lot of really cool things that I can do other than sit around and be miserable listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”