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One Way Jeb Bush Copied Donald Trump In His Campaign's Last Days

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/03/2016 Paul Blumenthal
ATHENA IMAGE © ROBYN BECK via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

WASHINGTON -- In the final days of his doomed presidential bid, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) loaned his campaign more than $400,000 to keep it afloat.

The revelation of Bush’s self-financing comes from the Federal Election Commission report covering the final month of his campaign. Bush dropped out of the Republican presidential primary on Feb. 20 after failing to finish better than fourth place in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.

Son and brother to two U.S. presidents, Bush began his campaign as the front-runner thanks to his high name recognition and his fundraising ability. In December 2014, he declared that he would “ actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States .” The carefully worded statement acted as a legal shield for him to tour the country’s mansions to personally raise $100 million for his own super PAC -- an act that is illegal for a declared candidate.

The early focus on super PAC fundraising led Bush to begin fundraising for his actual campaign committee late in the game. Bush was left with more resources in a super PAC that he could not directly coordinate with and fewer in his own campaign. He raised a total of $33 million by the end of January for his campaign -- the fourth most among Republican candidates.

Bush’s early super PAC fundraising prowess also became a routine line of attack leveled by his chief antagonist Donald Trump. At debates and on the stump, Trump consistently blasted Bush for being beholden to his donors.

In one such debate, Trump told Bush to "quiet" and was booed by the audience. Trump’s response to the boos: “That's all of his donors and special interests.”

One of Trump’s biggest applause lines has been his declaration that is not bought and paid for by donors like the other candidates. He claims his self-financing (which he is mostly doing) puts him above the corruption of politics by monied donors.

In the end, Bush was forced to copy Trump and self-finance his final push in South Carolina.

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