This week we saw the strengths and weaknesses of  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). He remains one of the most compelling candidates, but in some ways a risky choice for the GOP.

He initially reported $10.9 million cash on hand and made an effort to show donors his campaign’s frugality. Since the end of the quarter he’s also picked up a share of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s donors and been active in hauling in money from New York and Connecticut, places where Jeb Bush has dominated in the  money race.

Meanwhile, in the midst of more foreign policy chaos, Rubio scolded the White House’s moral equivalence on Israel: “We are firmly on the side of Israel, at least we should be. . . . [And] we need to be criticizing [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas and the Palestinian Authority because they’re the ones that are inciting violence.”

Rubio also hammered President Obama on the consequences of the rotten Iran deal:

It is clear that Iran’s latest nuclear-capable ballistic missile test is a flagrant violation of at least one United Nations Security Council resolution. In recent days, we have also seen reports that Iran has refused to provide basic information about its past nuclear weaponization work to the International Atomic Energy Agency. These are but two reminders that President Obama’s nuclear deal does nothing to halt Iran’s missile program or get to the bottom of Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons work.

That was the positive side of his week. Strong foreign policy pronouncements, however, do not alone make a winning campaign. This week also revealed some of the Rubio campaign’s weaknesses.

First, his actual third-quarter fundraising was only $5.7 million, not $6 million, as his campaign initially put out. Moreover, he has $9.7 million cash on hand, not $10.9 as his team first indicated. His campaign continued to insist Rubio had more cash than Bush, falsely asserting Bush’s loans should be deducted from cash on hand. Over a trivial issue the campaign lost credibility. And while Rubio publicly refuses to criticize his former mentor, his team  evidenced defensiveness and resentment toward the Bush operation, which can reduce Rubio’s stature. (In the duel between the two, Rubio must show he is not just “another Obama.”)

Also troubling is his lack of infrastructure. Politico reported:

For all the recent buzz surrounding his candidacy — fueled by strong debate performances — Rubio isn’t raising enough money to keep pace with his rivals in the top tier and he’s running out of time to assemble a robust field organization.
“If Trump-mania subsides, you’ve got to have a mechanism and a structure,” said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina Republican strategist who isn’t affiliated with any campaign. “I think you’re being risky if you don’t put a structure in place.” . . .
A longtime New Hampshire operative who believes Rubio could do well there added that the senator has “missed a lot of opportunities over the year where he could’ve been here more regularly.”
“Early on and over the summer, when he came here, he’d have like one public event,” the operative said. “Rubio people might feel pretty good because he got that good debate performance. That was a good moment. You’re going to have bad moments in the campaign. If you haven’t put together the organization, if you haven’t spent time laying the foundation for undecided voters to make decisions, when you have challenging moments or bad moments, you can’t sustain any of the ground you made up.”

More fundamentally, in a generally favorable piece in the Weekly Standard, he was asked about his plan that takes the capital gains tax down to zero:

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“It’s not about Warren Buffett or Mitt Romney. It’s about people like my father. My father was a bartender. He worked in a hotel. And that hotel existed because someone invested money to build it, operate it, and maintain it,” Rubio said. “We need more investment. The more you tax investment, the less investment you’re going to get. I want to make America the most attractive place in the world to invest, so millions of people like my father have jobs.”
This argument, made at a time when the stock market is up more than 150 percent since its 2009 low, does not strike Henry Olsen, a political analyst at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, as persuasive. “Particularly it’s damaging for Rubio because his essential campaign appeal is that he’s everything that Mitt Romney is not,” Olsen says. “I think elections are fought at a personal and a moral level, and what you have here is a very easily understandable moral message.”
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Rubio is naive in thinking this won’t be a problem in the general election. The Democrats will seek to portray him as ideologically extreme, using this and his no-exceptions stance on abortion. He will need to rethink his stance, devise a better defense or emphasize countervailing policies to avoid being painted as another Republican who favors the rich.

No perfect campaigns or candidates exist. Rubio’s political skills and foreign policy prowess make him formidable, and Rubio is well positioned with a message that could resonate with all factions of the party. Still, his fundraising will have to show improvement; his campaign  cannot evidence an inferiority complex toward Bush’s team; he must put in place an infrastructure; and he must exercise care in insulating himself from the onslaught of attacks the Democrats will launch. Moreover, a campaign does not succeed simply by good debate performances and eloquent foreign policy. The Rubio team should worry less about Bush and more about its own nuts and bolts.

Is he ready to lead his party? Not now. Can he get there? We will find out.