Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush blasts Hillary Clinton for her handling of Iraq as Secretary of State. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGHT CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday attacked Democrat Hillary Clinton for her handling of Iraq as secretary of state, saying she must share the blame for the rise of Islamic State militants, in a prelude to a potential general election matchup in 2016. "ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat. And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away. In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once. 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," Bush said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. But rather than dwell on the past Bush used the bulk of his speech to sketch out a future path for the United States in the region that is more muscular than what he called President Barack Obama's minimalist approach of incremental escalation. "Right now, we have around 3,500 soldiers and marines in Iraq, and more may well be needed. We do not need, and our friends do not ask for, a major commitment of American combat forces. But we do need to convey that we are serious, that we are determined to help local forces take back their country. Our unrivaled warfighters know that it is simply not enough to dispense advice and training to local forces, then send them on their way and hope for the best. Canadian troops are already embedded in Iraqi units to very good effect. Our soldiers and marines need the go-ahead to do that as well, to help our partners outthink and outmaneuver the enemy." Clinton foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, defended Clinton, saying she had accomplished a successful transition from a U.S. military footprint in Iraq to a civilian one.