In the long, grueling war of attrition that is presidential election politics, it’s necessary for candidates to win battles and skirmishes along the way if they expect to gain the nomination and ultimately win the general election. On Tuesday, a battle between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, whose campaign has been sagging of late, broke out. Who emerged the winner?
Interestingly, it was Hillary Clinton who came out on top — not the two candidates duking it out over social media.
Trump has been hammering away at Bush for weeks, repeatedly casting him as a “very, very low-energy person,” a characterization Bush ignored at first, rather than fight back against. But as Bush’s poll numbers have begun a precipitous slide recently, he’s begun firing back at Trump until an all-out feud erupted on Tuesday.
Bush posted an attack ad on Twitter in which he threw Donald Trump’s own words back at him to portray him as a phony conservative. The video, titled “Liberal Things That Trump Says [and] Believes” and posted early in the morning, features old clips of Donald Trump laying out his liberal position on a number of hot-button issues like abortion and universal healthcare.
Trump is also seen in old TV clips praising current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as “very talented” and “a terrific woman.” “I’ve known her and her husband for years and I really like them both a lot,” Trump is seen saying in the video, a far cry from his recent assessments of Clinton. Watch it below:
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) September 1, 2015
Trump shot back later in the afternoon with a retort posted on Instagram, a 15-second video titled “Jeb Bush Honoring Hillary Clinton For Her Public Service.” The video shows a clip of Jeb Bush thanking Hillary Clinton and closes with footage of former President George W. Bush joking that the cozy Clinton-Bush family relationship that has developed in recent years makes Clinton “my sister-in-law.” Watch it below:
The Clinton campaign, of course, was watching and saw an opportunity to swoop in and capitalize on all the Hillary love that was being lobbed back and forth in the rival attack ads.
Shortly after Trump’s video debuted on Instagram, Clinton’s campaign tweeted an image with photos of both Bush and Trump and their glowing quotes with the message: “.@jebbush @realDonaldTrump No need to fight guys: you both agree that Hillary was a great SecState. We get it.”
It was a succint and brilliant judo move by Clinton — using both Trump’s and Bush’s own weight against them to make a point and (for now) win the battle. Neither candidate responded to Clinton’s cheeky zinger.
Tuesday was a big day for both women seeking their respective party’s nominations. Carly Fiorina won a hard-fought publicity war with CNN resulting in the network changing its criteria for how candidates will qualify for the second Republican debate later this month — an outcome that will almost certainly guarantee Fiorina a podium on the stage.