Bush is in serious danger of seeing his support dry up if he cannot at least finish ahead of Rubio, another candidate with appeal to the mainstream Republicans who are seeking a single standard-bearer to consolidate behind before Trump, or perhaps Ted Cruz, runs away with the GOP nomination.
For months, Bush has shied away from harshly attacking Rubio after his first attempt to do so on the debate stage in late October backfired badly and sent his campaign reeling. Now, however, there is little to lose — and Bush was sure to remind voters here that he was responding to Rubio’s questioning of his foreign policy experience.
“This isn’t negative,” he said.
But after bulldozing through 30 minutes of remarks, Bush struggled to mask his own frustration as he asked the audience to vote for him Saturday in words that were dripping with gallows humor.
“It’s all been decided, apparently,” Bush said. “The pundits have already figured it out. We don’t have to go vote. I should stop campaigning maybe.”