Could the end be near for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign? Would a back-in-the-pack finish in South Carolina be the final blow? Kasie Hunt seems to suggest so.
MSNBC's Hunt, appearing on today's With All Due Respect, sounded an ominous note for Bush fans. Reporting that the Bush campaign has been disappointed by the lack of a bump coming off a strong debate performance, Hunt said "to a certain extent there's a little bit of throwing up of the hands . . . The sense I'm getting from the people I talk to in the Bush circle is getting more and more pessimistic."
Hunt noted that the Bush campaign is hoping that John Kasich's leaving South Carolina to campaign in Michigan might be helpful. Counting on cutting into support for Kasich, another South Carolina also-ran, sounds like some pretty thin gruel upon which to plot a positive Bush strategy.
JOHN HEILEMANN: What does it do to a Jeb Bush candidacy if he ends up a distant fourth, or maybe even fifth, in this state [of South Carolina]?
KASIE HUNT: Well the Bush campaign I think is surprised by just how difficult things have been. They felt like his debate performance was really strong and they got almost no bump out of that. To a certain extent there's a little bit of throwing up of the hands. I think they're looking right now at John Kasich, trying to see if his leaving the state to go to Michigan is going to be a little bit helpful. I think there sense is it's a pile-up in the same way New Hampshire is. So the question again to them is going to be the margin. Just how far behind is he? And then I guess if they all end up in this pile-up can he keep going through these additional states? I have to say, the sense I'm getting from the people I talk to in the Bush circle is getting more and more pessimistic as this goes along.