Jeb Bush's Hail Mary: Flailing candidate launches "Jeb Can Fix It" tour

New Jeb! tour comes as the struggling candidate releases a book of emails from his time as Florida governor

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published November 2, 2015 3:55PM (EST)

  (Reuters/Brian Snyder)
(Reuters/Brian Snyder)

After three poor debate performances, lagging poll numbers, discouraging fundraising and near daily rhetorical flubs, one-time Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush is now set to relaunch his struggling campaign from Tampa, Florida with a new campaign dubbed "Jeb Can Fix It" and a new book of emails, titled "Reply All."

It is not clear what exactly Jeb is proposing to fix with his latest relaunch -- his campaign or the country -- but the former Florida governor is promising to rejigger his campaign to emphasize his experience and establishment support, gambling that a return to regular order is actually what Republicans voters are hungry for in 2015.

Jeb is expected to highlight his record as a strong conservative governor nearly a decade ago with a new "Jeb Can Fix It" tour and the release of a new 730-page e-book of his email exchanges during his tenure as Florida’s governor from 1999-2007. Bush has often bragged that that he earned the nickname "eGovernor" because of his prolific emailing with constituents.

Hopeful, optimistic, aspirational. Jeb told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he is certain that Republican voters are yearning for a more positive candidate, harkening back to his brother's 2000 campaign centered on the idea of a "compassionate conservative." Citing President Obama's “competing pessimisms," Jeb said that he thinks the current president has given up in the face of Washington gridlock.

“After seven years of incompetence, corruption and gridlock in Washington, we need a president who can fix it. I can fix it,” Jeb will say, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "For all his promise, perhaps President Obama’s greatest accomplishment is that of creating competing pessimisms," Jeb's speech reads. "Members of his own party are left explaining how two percent growth, massive debt, and increasing global isolation are really the best we can do. They speak in delusional terms about containing ISIS; about trusting the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism; about how the presence of Russian soldiers on Syrian soil doesn’t underscore the president’s empty words and total inaction. It’s not working."

"After seven years of incompetence, corruption and gridlock in Washington, we need a president who can fix it.  I can fix it," Jeb is expected to promise.

As for his own troubled campaign, Jeb told Todd that he has “enough self-awareness to know that this is the bumpy time of a campaign,” but so far, all signs point to a campaign relaunch that will double down on efforts to shore up Jeb's establishment support, despite various indications that Republican voters are recoiling from the GOP establishment. Future Florida House Speaker and former chief of staff for Sen. Marco Rubio, Richard Corcoran, endorsed Jeb today to help launch "Jeb Can Fix It."

“Jeb Bush always stepped up and was true to his principles, even if that meant facing difficult consequences,” Corcoran said.

"This election is about a set of personalities," Bush is expected to say, "It is about a set of principles."

Still, both Jeb and Rubio are losing in their home state of Florida, according to a new poll showing Donald Trump with 27 percent to Rubio's 16 percent and Jeb's 12 percent. So far, news of Jeb's campaign reboot has been welcomed by Trump as expected:

Watch how “Jeb Can Fix It” is backfiring:

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By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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