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Jeb Bush's presidential campaign has taken another hit. He recently lost three of his top fundraisers. Kris Money, Trey McCarley and Debbie Aleksander have reportedly abandoned his camp because of "personality problems." It's troubling news for the candidate who now ranks third, behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
Part of the problem may be voter perception of the Florida governor, who has long been thought of as just another political scion. As he ramps up his bid to become the next president of the United States, it's clear that he wants and needs to be more than that in the eyes of Americans.
Enter his not-so-secret weapon. Bush is a man who has
been shaped by the woman he loves. He met Columba
Garnica de Gallo at 17 years old when his elite New England prep school sent a
group of students to help build a schoolhouse in a poor village in Mexico. It
was literally "love at first sight," he has gushed. Also calling her "my first
date and my only love." He even charts his life as "B.C." and "A.C."—meaning "Before
Columba" and "After Columba."
At the time, the rich kid from Texas didn't have his
priorities straight. He wasn't much of a student, reportedly liked to smoke pot and had
the rep of a being a bit of a bully. That chance meeting would change the
course of his life. Their worlds couldn't
have been more different. He was the son of an oil magnate; she the
daughter of a farmer, who reportedly physically abused her mother. Jeb has said
that she played hard to get, which made him even more determined to win her
heart. "She was different than me, which drew me to her. She had great
instinctive insights into life that I really appreciated," he once said. "Thank God I met her and thank God she let me
into her life!"
When he returned to school, he gave up drugs, got on the
honor roll and went to college. He wanted to prove to Columba that he was serious
about his life and her. They married in 1974 and eventually moved to Texas, but
it was not quite the fairytale you would imagine. Joining the powerful and
famous family was at times an isolating experience. Even Jeb admits that Columba
faced "subtle, subtle" racism from people in his home state.
In 1979, they moved
to Miami to help George H. W. Bush campaign for president and have called it home
ever since, raising three children there. Though, it hasn't been a
picture-perfect existence. Their daughter Noelle has struggled with
drug addiction and eldest son George made headlines after breaking into an
ex-girlfriend's home in one instance and public drunkenness in another. Though, all of this seems to humanize Jeb in a way no
glossy ad ever could. He and Columba's relationship is a fascinating and tender love story
that has, thus far, been overshadowed by a campaign filled with bluster and
rhetoric. But we suspect we will see a lot more of her in the months to come.
As some analyst claim, Columba just may be Jeb's "secret weapon."