Jeb Bush vows to fight through campaign's 'bumpy time'

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Jeb Bush Is Ready to

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remained steadfast in his quest for the White House despite a poor debate performance and a week of dismal headlines for his troubled campaign during an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd for "Meet the Press."

"I have enough self-awareness to know that this is the bumpy time of a campaign," he said. "This is the process. I totally understand it, and I'm more than prepared to fight on."

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Jeb Bush vows to fight through campaign's 'bumpy time'
GREENVILLE, SC - SEPTEMBER 18: Former Florida Governor and republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum September 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleven republican candidates each had twenty five minutes to talk to voters Friday at the Bons Secours Wellness arena in the upstate of South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 15: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush waves on stage as he announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination during an event at Miami-Dade College - Kendall Campus on June 15 , 2015 in Miami, Florida. Bush joins a list of Republican candidates to announce their plans on running against the Democrats for the White House. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 01: Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a town hall style meeting at La Progresiva Presbyterian School on September 1, 2015 in Miami, Florida. Jeb continues to campaign for the Republican nomination. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 14: Republican presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (C) talks with members of the media as U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (L) (R-IA) and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R) (R-IA) look on during the Iowa State Fair on August 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 14: Republican presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad eat a pork chop on a stick at the Iowa Pork Tent during the Iowa State Fair on August 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
AMHERST, NH - JULY 4: Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush greets supporters at the 4th of July Parade on July 4, 2015 in Amherst, New Hampshire. Bush is a front-runner in the polls for the 2016 presidential race with 14 other republican candidates. (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)
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That fight comes after Bush's campaign slashed its budget and eliminated staff as part of a major realignment just before last week's debate where the candidate struggled to gain traction -- further unnerving already anxious donors -- and putting his own viability in the national spotlight.

"I know that I got to get better at doing the debate," Bush said.

Part of the campaign's reset strategy emerged from a huddle in Houston last weekend with advisers and donors. A leaked memo from that event showed a strong focus on Bush's rival for the Republican nomination Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Bush said he did not leak the memo.

"I didn't see it," Bush said of the memo that in part referred to Rubio as a "GOP Obama." Despite that, the governor said comparing and contrasting candidates is part of the process, but that he wants the basis of his campaign to be on fixing problems.

Bush has repeatedly questioned Rubio's record and criticizes the senator frequently for missing votes in Washington to spend time campaigning. Other attacks on the campaign trail focus on the likes of Donald Trump who favors a bombastic style.

READ MORE: GOP suspends partnership with NBC News for February debate

"We have a lot of candidates that I think the easy out is to say, you know, 'Follow me because I'm angry too,'" he said. "That's not going to win the general election."

A persistent critique of Bush's candidacy, in part perpetuated by Trump and again reinforced during the debate, has focused on the candidate's energy for the race and a reluctance to fight back. He insisted that's not a reality of the campaign trail but is more a symptom of media coverage.

"I've just got to be able to break through the clutter of all the punditry class, and I think I can do that," he said of the prevailing conventional wisdom.

See more from the third GOP debate below:

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Jeb Bush vows to fight through campaign's 'bumpy time'
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pose for a photo at the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorado's Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Fourteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the third set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) take the stage at the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorados Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Fourteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the third set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) take part in the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorados Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Fourteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the third set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
2016 presidential candidates Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, left, Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., center, and Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon, stand on stage at the start of the Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Three Republican senators running for president have come out swinging against a bipartisan budget deal as an emblem of everything that's wrong in Washington, making it a likely pinata in the party's third debate Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Bush faced additional criticism last week for a comment in South Carolina where he said he had plenty of other things to do rather than the current state of politics. He said those remarks were taken out of context and were more about political gridlock than the state of the race.

READ MORE: Billionaire donor backs Rubio for US president: NY Times

"Don't vote for me if you think that I'm going to be part of that system and because I'm president I'll think that's a really cool thing," he clarified to Chuck. "That's not what this is about."

For his own message, Bush will attempt to reintroduce his platform during a speech Monday in Tampa in connection with the release of an eBook based on emails with constituents during his time as governor. He told Chuck the speech will layout his brand of conservatism based on positivity and what he calls "a right to rise."

"We need to be hopeful and optimistic, have an aspirational message," he said. "I don't think conservatives are going to win the presidency unless we campaign with our arms wide open."

Bush will then take his "Jeb Can Fix It" tour to South Carolina and New Hampshire just as his campaign has doubled down on its Granite State effort.

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"We're totally committed to a national campaign, but February's going to matter," he said alluding to the importance of the early voting in New Hampshire.

The perception that he lacks a fire for his own candidacy is a misnomer for the former governor who told Chuck he has a totally different impression during events on the campaign trail.

"When I have these events where you're one on one, where you're listening to people, talking to people, town hall meetings that are growing in New Hampshire, I feel pretty good about where we are," he said.

Part of Bush's struggle rests in the hands of a changed electorate more attracted to outside candidates like front runners Trump and Ben Carson than Bush's lane in the party establishment.

"Our country has moved away from us, and we need to get back our country," Bush said of the party. "We need to win."

That disconnect is of special concern to Bush's father who has reportedly been angered by the rise of his son's rivals.

"My contribution to my dad's life is that he's gotten fired up again," he said of the former president's reunited political interest. "He's not watching CSI, he's watching the shows, as Donald Trump calls them."

Watch more below:

ComPRESSed: Jeb Bush on His Campaign, Family, and Political Views

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