Tags: jeb bush | brother | iowa

Jeb Bush: I'm W's Brother Whether People 'Like That or Not'

By    |   Sunday, 17 May 2015 09:01 AM

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Republicans in Iowa Saturday that he was proud to be the brother of former President George W. Bush — "whether people like that or not."

"They're just going to have to get used to it," Bush said to cheers from more than 1,300 people at the Iowa Lincoln Republican Dinner in Des Moines. He was among 11 presidential candidates and hopefuls who spoke at the event.

Bush has yet to officially declare that he is running for the White House. He said in December that he was considering a bid.

"Many of you know me as George and Barbara's boy, for which I am proud," Bush said in beginning his 10-minute speech. "Some of you may know that W is my brother. I' m proud of that, too."

Bush's remarks came at the end of a week in which he faced questions on how would have handled Iraq and how he has been influenced by his brother's legacy.

He told Fox News on Monday that would have authorized the 2003 invasion, even knowing what he knows now. He later said that he misunderstood the question, then that he "would not have gone into Iraq."

He was also attacked for saying that President Bush was a key adviser on world affairs.

The former governor also miffed Iowa Republican Party officials by deciding that he would not participate in the Iowa Straw Poll in August and attend the RedState Gathering of Republicans in Atlanta.

Falling this year on Armed Forces Day, the Lincoln Dinner is Iowa's largest GOP event before the Hawkeye State holds its caucuses Feb 2, in the first test of the 2016 presidential season.

The declared 2016 candidates speaking were Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina, and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.

The other hopefuls on the program were Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; former Govs. George Pataki of New York and Rick Perry of Texas; and billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

The state's senior senator, Chuck Grassley, began the list of speakers — and Sen. Joni Ernst, who was elected in November, and Gov. Terry Branstad were in the audience.

Similar GOP events have been held in recent weeks in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In his speech, Bush touted his record during his eight years in Tallahassee, including cutting taxes by $18 billion, vetoing more than 2,500 line items in the state budget, cutting the state workforce by 13,000, and creating 1.3 million jobs.

"There's a difference between the liberal, progressive agenda and a conservative agenda applied the right way," Bush said.

He slammed President Barack Obama on many fronts, saying that his administration has "politicized things that used to be sacred: the justice department, the IRS. There are scandals everywhere."

He got sustained applause when he attack the Department of Veteran's Affairs for firing only one person in light of the VA debacle.

"There should be scores of people fired for withholding services for people who truly need it," Bush said.

Globally, the former governor said that, "leadership matters — and we see what happens when a president does not believe that that America's presence and power in the world is not a force for good."

He called for the end of sequestration because "it starts by rebuilding our military.

"We have to be vigilant to make sure we live in a peaceful world, and the best way to do that is peace through strength."

Bush called on rebuilding relationships with Israel, Canada and the Arab Gulf states — saying the dealings "have been tattered to the core.

"Country after country, our relationships are worse," Bush added before posing a question: "Name a country where the relationship is better since Barack Obama came in office?"

The audience was silent.

"Iran?" Bush asked. "Cuba?" He then shrugged his shoulders.

Silence still.

"I rest my case," Bush said to laughter and applause.

Referencing the Iraq questions Bush was asked this week, Paul declared that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also "should have to answer those questions.

"Was it a good idea to topple [Muammar] Gaddafi in Libya?" Paul asked, noting that the Islamic State has filled the void. "It is a disaster. Libya is a failed state — and I think Hillary Clinton should have to answer for it."

The crowd cheered when Paul declared that the 2012 Benghazi attacks, in which four Americans died, "should forever preclude her from holding higher office."

In coming close to saying that he was running for the White House, Trump said that he would be making an announcement in June — and that "people are going to be very surprised.

"We have to strengthen our military. We have to strengthen our border."

Trump drew cheers when he said that on the U.S. border, "I would build a wall the likes of which nobody has ever seen before" — and that "Mexico would pay for it."

In his speech, Santorum declared that "we need a president who understands the difference between a friend and an enemy.

"We have a president who appeases, who is afraid to call the enemy what it is," he said. "We are at war with ISIS, we are at war with jihadists — and we need a president who understands that."

He also claimed credit for authoring the Iran sanctions bill, which he said was attacked by both Obama and Clinton.

Carson was applauded for blasting the "divisiveness" that the administration has created in the United States.

"We are not each other's enemy — and our strength is in our unity," he said.

Carson reiterated that the Baltimore riots were not about race because both Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts are black. They were the result of failed liberal policies.

Unrest broke out April 27 after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 from a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Six Baltimore police officers have been charged.

Rejecting any assertion that the existing problems in Iraq were the result former President Bush, Graham declared: "The person I blame is Barack Obama, not George W. Bush."

"President Bush had the same information everybody else in the world did, and he made the best decision he could," he said. "Bush made his mistakes, but he corrected his mistakes."

Graham blasted Obama for keeping a campaign promise to withdraw combat troops from Iraq.

"If you fought in Iraq, it worked," the senator declared. "It's not your fault it's gone to hell. It's Obama's fault.

"You did your job — and I will have no part of anybody saying you didn’t."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Republicans in Iowa Saturday that he was proud to be the brother of former President George W. Bush - whether people like that or not. They're just going to have to get used to it, Bush said to cheers from more than 1,300 people at the...
jeb bush, brother, iowa
Sunday, 17 May 2015 09:01 AM
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