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Tough week exposes challenges for Bush’s 2016 bid

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2015 | 5:00 AM
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks in Washington.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP):

Jeb Bush worked his way through the dim hallway of an Arizona resort for hours, shuttling from room to room and meeting with dozens of Republican officials, many for the first time.

He was trying to recover from what was undeniably his worst week in politics since announcing he was considering a run for the White House.

For days, Bush, the former Florida governor, had offered confusing answers to questions about the war in Iraq. He had disappointed Republicans in Iowa, the lead off state in the nomination chase. And, for a moment, he had forgotten he wasn't yet officially a 2016 presidential candidate.

Only weeks earlier, donors willing to give millions to put him in the White House were coming to see him at an opulent Miami Beach hotel.

Now it was Bush seeking the private gatherings, on the sidelines of a Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting.

Interviews with dozens of RNC members, Bush donors, early state supporters and strategists show:

- Concerns with his skills as a campaigner.

- Unease that his designation as a front-runner has yet to materialise in polls.

- Worries that while they know the Bush name, they don't yet know this Bush outside of Florida.

But none of the Republicans interviewed by The Associated Press said Bush had been irreparably damaged.