When George H. W. Bush feeling the pressure in New Hampshire in 1992, his campaign decided that he wasn’t giving the impression that he cared about ordinary folks. He had the problem Mitt Romney had: Pat Buchanan painted him as out of touch with real Americans.
So, his campaign had a meeting. After it, he came out and literally said to a New Hampshire crowd “Message: I care.” Jeb Bush now followed in his fathers footsteps, and all but said to his New Hampshire crowd: “Message, Please Care” as he asked them to clap.
Poppa Bush’s statement was clearly the result of a meeting, as he worked to fend off Pat Buchanan. You can even see as he corrects himself to get just the exact wording they prescribed, to describe himself as President, to express religious belief, and to make an emotional connection with the voters: “You cannot be president of the United States if you don’t have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can’t be. And we are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for — don’t cry for me, Argentina. Message: I care.”
He showed no subtlety, no ability to think on his feet, and no way to actually try to connect with the voters. He had to state, bluntly, that he cared. He told them, he didn’t show them.
Likewise, Jeb has no means to excite his voters. Trump famously said if he wanted his rally to get fired up, he’d say he wants to build the wall. I’m sure Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have themes that, when they get hit, their backers get energized. But Bush? No, nothing. He has to ask them to clap!
Quoth the New York Times, via Mediaite
Speaking to a crowd at the Hanover Inn near the Vermont border during his final stop of the day, Mr. Bush finished a fiery riff about protecting the country as commander in chief – “I won’t be out here blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up,” he said – and was met with total silence.
“Please clap,” he said, sounded defeated.
Now, these are biased media outlets, but unless someone shows me a video of the crowd getting worked up at his words, I believe it. You don’t say “Please clap” if people are already clapping. [Update: We now have the video. The room is silent until he asks them to clap.]
Jeb Bush: It’s not that he’s low energy, it’s that he is incapable of giving any reason for Republicans to have high energy.