National Journal

By Shane Goldmacher
March 30, 2015

Jeb Bush previewed his plans Monday to attack one of Hillary Clinton’s supposed strengths, criticizing her foreign policy record and blaming current global unrest in part on her term as secretary of State.

“She can’t do the Heisman on the first four years of the Obama foreign policy” and then disown the current unrest abroad, Bush said Monday while appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Show.

Since Bush began considering a run for president late last year, he has been virtually absent from the influential conservative talk-radio circuit. But this was his second appearance in as many months on Hewitt’s program, even coming in-person to Hewitt’s Southern California studio Monday. In recent months, Hewitt has emerged as the go-to pundit for the Republican Party establishment.

On the show, Bush sketched out his lines of attack against the presumptive Democratic nominee. “The pullback began then,” Bush said of Clinton’s tenure. “The reset with Russia, the discussions with Syria, the red line, all these things created the beginnings of what we’re now seeing.”

Bush repeatedly flapped his hawkish wings in the talk-radio appearance, saying he would have abandoned nuclear negotiations with Iran “a long time ago,” criticizing President Obama for showing “incredible disrespect” for Israel and for the administration’s handling of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “trash-talking the guy and doing nothing.”

He went on to channel his brother, former President George W. Bush, calling some of America’s foes in the Middle East “barbarians” and “evil doers.” And he defended the controversial domestic spying program, blaming Obama for failing “to persuade people that their civil liberties are being protected by the systems we have in place.”

In the 30-minute interview, Bush also opened up a bit about his Catholic faith and religious freedom laws, something he has been reticent to do, as documented this week in National Journal.

He embraced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s recent signing of a controversial religious-freedom law calling it “the right thing” to do. The legislation has sparked intense backlash from Democrats and gay-rights groups, but Bush noted that President Clinton had signed a similar measure two decades ago.

“This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to have, to be able to be people of conscience,” Bush said. “I just think, once the facts are established, people aren’t going to see this as discriminatory at all.”

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