David Frum: ‘Surest Way’ for Trump to Keep Jeb in the Race Is to Insult Him in Public

‘It doesn’t look like there is much hope Jeb Bush will overcome it in South Carolina’

COSTELLO: “So that’s his secret. Joining me now, David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush and senior editor for ‘The Atlantic.’ Good morning.” 
FRUM: “Good morning.” 
COSTELLO: “Good morning. Thanks for being here. So let’s start with the gun tweet. Why did he do that?” 
FRUM: :Yes. Look, George — Jeb Bush is a strong Second Amendment proponent. And he is battling for the title of leader of the more traditional Republicans, John Kasich, who voted for the 1994 assault ban — ban on assault weapons when John Kasich was a member of Congress. So Jeb Bush is using guns as the web issue against Kasich who is even more towards the center of the Republican Party than Jeb Bush is.” 
COSTELLO: “So you think this tweet is helpful?” 
FRUM: “Look, I — it’s not my kind of politics, but, yes, I think it is helpful in the context of South Carolina, yes.”
COSTELLO: “OK. So let’s talk about South Carolina and the polls that are out there. A CNN/ORC poll of South Carolina voters shows Trump with a commanding lead, while Jeb Bush is in fourth place.”
FRUM: “Right.”
COSTELLO: “Can he overcome that? And if he can’t, should he continue?”
FRUM: “Well, it doesn’t look like there’s much hope that Jeb Bush will overcome it in South Carolina. He is gambling and things look even worse for him in Nevada if the CNN poll today is correct, although it is a small sample poll. The big event is March 1. And I have to believe that March 2nd is decision day for Jeb Bush because, you know, the prospect if he does badly on the first of March and he stays in the race, then he almost guarantees a Trump victory. And Donald Trump know this is too. One of the things that was so striking to me about the intensity of Donald Trump’s attacks on not only Jeb Bush but the whole Bush family in the debate is, if you assume that Donald Trump does have a strategic plan when he goes on the stage — those stages, and I think he does, what he is — what he must be most afraid of is that Jeb Bush will drop out early. If Jeb Bush drops out, if John Kasich were to drop out or if Marco Rubio were to drop out, the two-thirds of the party that don’t like Donald Trump would be able to consolidate more easily. Donald Trump has to prevent that and the surest way to prevent it is to keep Jeb Bush in. The surest way to keep Jeb Bush in is to insult him in public.”
COSTELLO: “I was just going to ask you, so that means like totally like annihilating Jeb Bush in ads and in tone and that will keep Jeb Bush in the race, not work the opposite way?” 
FRUM: “No, it — no, it means — look, Jeb Bush had a lot of resources. He — despite all the spending, there is still — he still has more cash on hand I think than any other Republican candidate, at least in his Super PAC. So he has the resources to stay. When Donald Trump, on the stage, attacks Jeb Bush’s mother, attacks his brother, throws all these accusations at the whole family, Jeb Bush — I mean he’s a person who’s proud of his family. He’s intensely loyal. He feels he must stand up and do battle for them. And that keeps them in the race through South Carolina, through Nevada, through March 1st. And by the time we get to March 15th, the Florida primary, almost half of the Republican delegates will have been chosen. If Donald Trump arrive on — at — in Florida with already having one- third of the one-half of the delegates that have already been chosen, or even better, he become very hard to stop.”
COSTELLO: “Politics is very, very strange. OK, one last question about Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. She hasn’t endorsed anyone yet, although she said she would not endorse Trump. That was clear. Is it possible she could endorse Jeb Bush?”
FRUM: “Well, I don’t — I don’t know her thinking. What she has to be calculating is, she is on anybody’s short list for the Republican vice presidential nomination. Southern state. They’re not going — the southern state. Exciting life story. A woman. A lot — popular in her state. Republicans would have — would give her a very close look. And that means she has to be very careful about not choosing the wrong head of the ticket to endorse. I mean she chose — if she endorses somebody and that person doesn’t win, there go her hopes of the vice presidency.” 
COSTELLO: “Oh, yes. If I were her, I wouldn’t endorse anyone, but — but she’s the governor and she has her own mind and she’s a smart women. Thanks so much, David Frum, for joining me this morning.”
FRUM: “Thank you.” 
COSTELLO: “You’re welcome.”

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