SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Tuesday, discussing his strategy of attack against Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton.
In a speech, Bush detailed that he intends to compete with the former secretary of state by attacking her for the rise of the terror group ISIS, as well as the instability of Iraq.
Bush, still dealing with the foreign-policy decisions by his brother, former President George W. Bush, in Iraq, came out swinging on foreign-policy issues before a supportive crowd at the library.
Clinton and President Barack Obama were identified in Bush’s statements Tuesday and accused of standing by and allowing Iraq to fall into ISIS-dominated chaos. He says rushing to get U.S. troops out of Iraq was the cause.
“Where was the secretary of state? Where was Secretary of State Clinton during all this?” Bush asked. “Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as the hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.”
Bush argued that as secretary of state, Clinton was essentially absent on Iraq at a time he says the country was falling apart and ISIS was growing in strength.
“In all of her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once,” Bush stated. “Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the president and Secretary Clinton, the storied team of rivals, took office, so eager to be the history-makers they failed to be the peacemakers?”
Democrats, including Democratic National Committee press secretary Holly Shulman, argue that it was, after all, Bush’s brother who got the U.S. into Iraq and who had signed an agreement to withdraw troops from the country by the end of 2011.
“Jeb Bush is very fitting to be presenting his views on foreign policy in LA, because we’ve all seen this movie once before,” Shulman said. “What we’ve seen from Jeb Bush is that he supports his brother’s foreign policy, his brother’s reckless foreign policy, at every turn. Jeb Bush’s foreign policy seems to be to support all the decisions that got us into the war and the mess that was created there, and then blame those who were trying to get us out.”
Those who attended the Bush event Tuesday, however, rejected the notion that he should be held accountable for his brother’s actions while he was in the White House.
“He’s much different than his brother, and they’re different times,” voter Julio Lemos said. “More than anything, we’re in different times as well. Those times, I think a lot of people, after 9/11, a lot of people forget that the whole country was behind Bush.”
Another audience member says he feels Bush made a solid comeback from a sub-par performance in last week’s GOP debate.
“I think he’s got a pulse,” audience member John Kelly said. “I wasn’t sure before tonight that he did. I think he’s alive, vibrant, and he’s probably the best of the trilogy of Bushes.”
The Republican candidates will hold their second debate Sept. 16 at the Reagan Library.