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*-- Bush, Rubio camps exchange verbal shots over campaign cash --*

WASHINGTON - The spokesmen of friendly rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have taken verbal pot shots at each other over the issue of how much money each has to run their respective campaigns.

The dispute began Thursday when Rubio communications director Alex Conant tweeted that the Florida senator has been more frugal with campaign finances than his competitors have.

"Here's why Marco Rubio's campaign has more cash in the bank than Jeb Bush for President," the tweet said, including a link to the official campaign website.

The website outlined budgetary measures it says regulate spending by the Rubio campaign -- such as flying commercially, keeping staff to a minimum and staying at less expensive hotels when stumping on the road.

"While some campaign burn through cash, Marco is pinching pennies," a subsequent tweet by Conant said.

Friday, Bush spokesman Tim Miller responded by suggesting the Rubio camp's fiscal claims aren't entirely accurate.

"Lying about budgets. Guess Marco picked up something in the Senate," Miller replied in a tweet that included a link to a report that says Rubio's cash advantage over Bush is artificially inflated.

Bush's campaign said Thursday it had raised more than $13 million during the last fiscal period -- The Washington Post reported -- which is more than double what Rubio raised. After the Bush team announced the numbers, Rubio's camp replied with a statement titled, "Marco starts Fourth Quarter with $11 million on hand."

"Thanks to smart budgeting and fiscal discipline, Marco Rubio for President started October with more money in the bank than Jeb Bush for President and most other campaigns," the statement said.

Both Republicans, who have held public office in Florida, say they are friends -- which is the reason some were surprised by the blunt sparring.


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