Likely GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush tore into President Barack Obama's failed presidency during a key foreign policy speech Wednesday, but it was the former Florida governor's inflated depiction of the Islamic State's (ISIS) fighting force as 200,000-strong that got all the attention.
"The great irony of the Obama presidency is this: someone who came to office promising greater engagement with the world has left America less influential in the world," Bush told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, CBS News reports.
On the threat from ISIS specifically, however, Bush declared ISIS has 200,000 fighters — which would be 10 times larger than the U.S. intelligence community's estimate — and that the United States needs to "tighten the noose" and "take them out" by fighting with other partners in the region, The Daily Beast reports.
U.S. intelligence officials have put ISIS' strength
at 20,000 to 31,500 men across Iraq and Syria, with a few hundred sympathizers in other countries.
Though senior Kurdish leader Fuad Hussein told the Independent
last November the number of ISIS fighters is at least 200,000, it's not clear if that's where Bush picked up the figure, The Daily Beast reports.
"Governor Bush misspoke," aide Kristy Campbell told the news website after the speech. "He meant 20,000."
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