From Jeremy Peters in the New York Times:
During his swing across the state on Thursday — which started at a resort near Hilton Head and ended at a Christian school outside Greenville — Mr. Rubio was as biting about Mr. Bush as he has ever been.
“I don’t think the conservative movement would be excited about Jeb Bush,” he said in the interview with reporters on his plane. “On the major issues facing the conservative movement over the last seven years, he’s been basically missing in action. He hasn’t really been a part of that fight.” He cited Republican-led battles against the Affordable Care Act and Common Core as examples.
Bush has certainly earned the counter-punch from Rubio. His poor polling numbers – even in his home state – left him with the choice to get out or go negative on Rubio. Bush’s sense of entitlement and obvious hyper self-regard prompted the later. It earned him 1500 more votes than Rubio and the same amount of delegates in New Hampshire. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol sighted a poll yesterday which showed Bush to be trailing Rubio by 10 points in South Carolina.
Responding to assertions from Mr. Bush and others that he has not made tough or consequential decisions, Mr. Rubio called Mr. Bush’s experience in world affairs inferior to his own as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees.
Jeb has no foreign policy experience,” he said. “None.”
“And if he wants to make this election about experience, well, the most important job of the president is to be commander-in-chief.”
Bush predictably points to his travel on business junkets as foreign policy experience. Such experience compares him more favorably to Donald Trump than Rubio. Bush made lots of money for Jeb Bush and Associates while on these rainmaking tours. Rubio didn’t receive any extra income while becoming one of the nation’s most informed foreign policy experts and without exception, it’s best communicator on the topic.
Bush’s sophomoric assertion that republican legislators in Florida are choosing him and not Rubio reminds of a high school popularity contest. Few on them, if any, have gone negative on Rubio as has Bush and his surrogates. It’s likeliest that they are revolted by such an attack by one of their own on one of their own. It’s furthermore likely that Bush’s support here is out of gratitude for Bush’s help in their own careers. His corporate allies have assured that Bush has remained the only republican political kingmaker in Florida long after he left the governor’s mansion.