Jeb Bush needed a strong performance at Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate to silence the doubters. He did not get it.
His showing, widely viewed as lackluster, is likely to spur even more questions about his viability as a top-tier candidate, according to political strategists and donors.
“If he was looking to revive his campaign and replenish his coffers, tonight did not do him any justice,” said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.
Bush hit fellow Floridian Rubio early with a jab at his attendance record for votes on the Senate floor. But in what became one of the debate’s most talked-about moments, Rubio flipped the attack back at him, labeling Bush an opportunist.
“He went at Rubio with a knife," O'Connell said. "Rubio came back with a gun.”