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Tensions rising in Jeb Bush-Marco Rubio world?

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Although it may be slightly overhyped in the national press, it’s inevitable that Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are not going to be able to maintain a cozy relationship as they compete against each other for the Republican nomination for president.

On Monday, the Rubio campaign leaked a memo quoting campaign manager Terry Sullivan as excitedly talking about how successful their candidate’s first week out of the gate as an official candidate has been, and how “our early success is not going unnoticed by other campaigns. This weekend, the Drudge Report highlighted an AP report that another campaign has “Started quietly spreading negative information about Rubio’s record. ”

“We cannot take the bait and return fire,” Sullivan wrote. “We must stay positive.”

That AP story Sullivan referred to quoted Bush allies criticizing Rubio for challenging his elder in Florida Republican politics.

Former Republican Party of Florida party chairman Al Cardenas was quoted as saying that Bush “feels disappointed because he’s cared for him for so long,” referring to Rubio. “You just don’t want to go to battle against someone you care for.”

It also quoted Polk/Hillsborough County U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross as asserting that “Bush was more conservative,” and then added that Ross highlighted “Bush’s aggressive use of the line-item veto to cut government spending, regardless of whether such spending benefited members of his own party.”

Former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas also was quoted as saying that Rubio wasn’t as stingy with the people’s money. “There were always projects that were important to Marco’s constituents,” he said. “And they always ended up in the budget.”

It should be noted that neither Bush nor Rubio have made direct criticisms of each other — yet. But it’s inevitable, if not now, then say in December, when the New Hampshire Primary is only weeks away and if both men are fighting for votes from the same group of people.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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