By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
Go to the website jebbushemails.com, click on emails and up comes a timeline of Bush’s years as governor of Florida.
Click there and you can access 250,000 emails incoming and outgoing.
For example, a woman wrote to Bush how happy she is to be hosting a dinner for him and he writes back, “Thank you Melinda.”
You can also access the first chapter of an e-book Bush has written about his fondness for email and the fact that his nickname was “the e-Governor.”
“Well, I think it’s a good strategy because what it does is it separates him now. There’s sort of subtle pressure brought on others in the field to do the same thing,” said retired Press Secretary Carl Golden.
Some have wondered whether Bush’s move was aimed at Gov. Christie, who promised a transparent administration in his first inaugural address.
“Today a new era of accountability and transparency is here,” Christie said.
But as Mother Jones magazine recently pointed out, Christie is engaged in 23 court battles to keep certain state documents secret.
Retired press secretary Golden and Christie ally Dale Florio say the emails were aimed at the entire field, not just Chris Christie.
“I think this is probably a new standard that Jeb Bush is putting out there and candidates are gonna have to respond or not,” Florio said.
Meanwhile, the New York Observer reports that Henry Kissinger, who’s been giving Christie foreign policy advice, will endorse Jeb Bush tomorrow.
And that three titans of New Jersey Republican politics: former Republican National Finance Chairman Larry Bathgate, current National Finance Chairman Lew Eisenberg and former ambassador to the Netherlands Cliff Sobel have also come out for Bush.
“It means there’s going to be a lot of money flowing into the Bush campaign. These are prolific, as you know, prolific fundraisers,” Golden said.
Is support for Christie slipping away?
“The fact that several known Republicans are backing Bush? It’s a big country, and he’s running for president, not for reelection as governor,” Florio said.
Bush’s release of a quarter million emails is getting some criticism because they include people’s contact information and Social Security numbers.
As one website put it, is this total transparency or a violation of privacy? The emails would have looked differently if they’d been redacted.
Be that as it may, Bush appears to have gotten a leg up on New Jersey’s governor.
“Clearly he’s not the formidable candidate he was potentially six months ago. But he’s certainly still in the game. As long as you’re suited up and ready to take the field, you’re in the game,” Golden said.
“This is a horse race and they’re out of the starting gate. And Christie’s in the pack. That’s where he needs to be. That’s where he needs to be,” Florio said.