At long last, Jeb Bush is getting serious about his image.
After several weak debate performances and a series of less-than-stellar broadcast interviews, the Republican presidential candidate is reaching out for help improving his television image.
Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine writes that Bush is turning to the same person Roger Ailes uses to groom Fox News anchors.
Bush will be coached by image-maker Jon Kraushar, who has worked with Ailes since the 1980s when the two were partners at the Ailes Communications consultant shop. The two helped coach Jeb’s father, then-candidate George H.W. Bush, and his running mate Dan Quayle in their 1988 bid for the White House.
Ailes and Kraushar later collaborated on the book “You Are the Message,” the classic handbook for on-air political pundits. In the 2012 presidential election, Ailes sent Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan to Kraushar for help with his image.
For some time, Bush has been reluctant to change his television persona, a medium he outright disdains.
“He was very defensive about it,” one source told Sherman. On CNN, Bush blasted Republican front-runner Donald Trump, saying he talks about things “like he’s still on ‘The Apprentice.’”
But within the campaign, there was increasing concern about Bush’s showing, which Sherman says has become “a source of tension among advisers and donors.”
Among the frustrations: Bush insists on wearing his glasses and suits on the campaign trail, something projecting an image that doesn’t set well with the Republican Party’s populist faction – those supporting Trump, for example.