After what at best could be described as a subdued debate performance, Jeb Bush acknowledged his debating skills need to improve .
Although some critics have talked about Bush’s lost opportunity to rebut Marco Rubio during the debate, there is another moment in particular seems to nag at him.
Since Thursday, Bush has brought up an exchange about fantasy football betting. He mentioned it again in an interview airing Sunday with NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”
Bush promised that in subsequent debates, “If someone asks me about fantasy football next time — which was kind of bizarre — …I’ll talk about the people I’ve met that are really worried that they have declining income. They’re worried about their children having more opportunities.”
When the question of the growth of fantasy football websites came up in the debate, Bush amiably talked about his own dream team. “I’m 7-0 in my fantasy football league. Gronkowski is still going strong,” he joked on Wednesday, during the debate.
Jeb Bush insists campaign isn’t doomed
Chris Christie seized the moment from Bush and burst out, “Are we really talking about getting the government involved in fantasy football? We have – wait a second – we have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us, and we’re talking about fantasy football. Can we stop?”
This is the exchange that Bush cites as an example when he tells Todd that “chang[ing] the whole conversation” is something he needs to improve upon.
Bush also characterized the CNBC debate last week as “a really weird debate,” because he “literally got cut off by all three [moderators] saying ‘Next question, next question.'”
Still, Bush is confident he can turn out a better performance, telling NBC News, “I know that I got to get better at doing the debate. I’m a grinder. I mean, when I see that I’m not doing something well then I reset and I get better.”
Some Washington pundits have already declared Bush’s candidacy over on his behalf, but he told NBC “I do” still want to be president. The process of running has clearly not always been pleasant, though. Todd reminded him that he had said he wanted to run a “joyful campaign.” Asked if it’s been joyful, Bush responded , “It has been joyful. It has been, yeah. Am I frustrated–“
Bush talked about the part of campaigning he enjoys — like meeting people at a town hall in New Hampshire, and he implied the atmosphere was a far cry from last week’s debate. “There, by the way, you can actually complete a sentence and ask a person a question. You can listen. You can have a dialogue with people. I don’t think they follow all the things that people in other parts of the country follow. They want to hear the candidates, hear their heart, and hear their ideas. And I think I’m going to win New Hampshire because of that,” he said .
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