As Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush's favorability ratings continue to plummet, the campaign's chief operating officer has decamped. COO Christine Ciccone is the highest-ranking employee on the campaign to depart so far, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The news comes as the Bush campaign announced plans to cut salaries by 40 percent. Ciccone was paid around $12,000 a month or about $144,000 a year.
“We are grateful to have had Christine on the team, we respect her immensely,” Bush spokesman Tim Miller told the Journal.
Ciccone has a long relationship with the Bush family. She previously worked in the President George W. Bush administration as a liaison to the Senate.
“I’ve got no comment," Ciconne told the Journal Friday. "I’ve just got to go."
Jeb Bush's Chief Operating Officer, Christine Ciccone, is out. Highest ranking known official to lose her job post-widespread campaign cuts
— Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) October 30, 2015
Bush's favorability rating has dropped precipitously since June. No other candidate's favorability among Republicans has fallen as sharply in that time frame, reported Five Thirty Eight.
Referring to Bush's campaign logo, the Daily Wire wrote, "the exclamation point is gone."
The conventional wisdom was that Bush needed a strong performance in the third GOP primary debate Wednesday in Boulder, Colorado -- and failed to deliver. Now political observers are questioning how long the former front-runner can stay in the race.
"Jeb Bush's presidential campaign is facing a full-blown existential crisis," wrote CNN's Stephen Collinson. "The former Florida governor's attempt to revive his White House hopes during Wednesday's Republican debate by taking on his former protege, Sen. Marco Rubio, backfired badly. Instead, he delivered a performance drained of passion, fire and inspiration followed by a testy post-game interview that added up to a disastrous night for Bush."
Pundits described the campaign as terminal.
"The most significant story from last night is that Jeb Bush's campaign now finds itself on life support, especially after Bush swung and missed when trying to hit Rubio over his Senate voting record," wrote NBC News. "As one Republican operative told NBC's Peter Alexander, Bush had to demonstrate to his supporters and donors — after a rough last few weeks — that the former Florida governor could land a punch, particularly after telegraphing to the political world that it was coming. But Bush missed. Badly."
The Weekly Standard's headline went even further: "Jeb's Dead."