The ad war is escalating between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, with the GOP presidential front-runner releasing a blast at the former Florida governor that drew comparisons to the 1988 Willie Horton attack ad
used by Bush's father to criticize Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis.
Trump's ad, released Monday on his Instagram account
, juxtaposes Bush's 2014 statement about people who enter the country illegally committing an "act of love"
with images of illegal immigrants who've been charged with or convicted of murder.
"Forget love. It's time to get tough!" the Trump ad urges.
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On Tuesday, Bush fired back with his own burn,"The Real Donald Trump," featuring a series of clips from years-old interviews in which the real estate billionaire spouts far more liberal views.
"I'm very pro-choice," Trump says in one clip.
"You'd be shocked if I said that, in many cases, I probably identify more as a Democrat," he says in another.
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And on Twitter, Bush went after his rival's own immigration record.
Bush, 62, is among the Republican presidential candidates whose standing has been damaged by Trump's summer rise. An average of recent opinion polls by Real Clear Politics puts Bush in third place with 9.5 percent, behind Trump at 26.5 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 12 percent for the November 2016 presidential election.
The video and other comments by the former Florida governor suggest Bush is willing to take on Trump in a way other Republicans have thus far avoided, raising the possibility of fireworks at the next Republican debate on Sept. 16 in California.
The Bush video came the day after the Trump organization issued a video that attacked Bush's belief that immigration is an "act of love" by showing mug shots of three illegal immigrants either convicted or suspected of murder.
Asked by reporters in Miami on Tuesday about the Trump attack, Bush said he considered much of the criticism from his rival to be personal in nature.
The Bush video shows Trump praising Clinton, the former secretary of state and favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination, as a good negotiator on Iran at a time when Republicans are denouncing the Obama administration's proposed nuclear deal with Tehran.
"If you look at the record of what (Trump) believes, he supports Democrats," Bush told reporters in Miami. " .... This is not a guy who is a conservative.
"And using his own words is not a mischaracterization. It came out of his own mouth."
Trump acknowledged in a CNN interview on Tuesday that "at one point, I was a Democrat for a period of time," saying that in New York City, "everybody was a Democrat practically."
"Over the years as Ronald Reagan changed, I also changed," Trump added, noting that the late Republican president had also once been a Democrat. "I became much more conservative. I also became a Republican."
In a set of tweets about the Bush attack, Trump said: "Yet another weak hit by a candidate with a failing campaign. Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?"
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