Politics

Jeb Could Be the ‘New Romney’

He's following same path as the failed 2012 bid, says Larry Sabato

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Political science professor and leading expert on presidential elections Larry Sabato said Friday former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush could be the second coming of Mitt Romney’s failed strategy to win the White House in 2012.

“Well, you know it’s tough to say this early, but he could be,” Sabato said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

“I think what they’re counting on is for Hillary Clinton, kind of a negative partisanship, to come into play. And Clinton will energize the conservative base so that Bush doesn’t have to worry about it. But Romney’s theory was he didn’t have to worry about it because Obama would energize the conservative base,” Sabato continued.

He also said Jeb Bush, who has steered a moderate course on immigration, appears to be pursuing a strategy of winning the nomination on the strength of moderate-conservative voters. Nationwide, Sabato, said, that wing comprises about 30 percent of the Republican Party.

“What Bush is trying to do is hold that group together,” Sabato said, adding that in a crowded field, such a bloc “wins you many, maybe most, primaries.”

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“What Bush is trying to do is hold that group together,” Sabato said, adding that in a crowded field, such a bloc “wins you many, maybe most, primaries.”

Sabato also warned that despite Bush’s criticism of harsh rhetoric, the Floridian should not be mistaken for someone who plays nice in politics.

He noted that the candidate’s father, George H.W. Bush, ran for president on the promise of a “kinder, gentler” nation and that brother, George W. Bush, preached “compassionate conservatism” during his presidential bid 12 years later.

“But believe me, they never hesitate to show no compassion to their opponents on the campaign trail,” he said.

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