Oct. 01– Jeb Bush called Russia’s military strikes in Syria an “outrageous” act and a further stain on U.S. leadership abroad.
“He’s making (Jimmy) Carter look like a gladiator,” Bush said of Obama during an interview Wednesday with the New Hampshire Union Leader.
“Assad is the murderer of innocents in his country, and if the President hadn’t created the red line and hadn’t talked tough and done nothing, the Syrian Free Army would be a force to reckon with right now,” Bush said. “Now we have, as we pull back, the Russians demanding that the United States not fly over Syria. It is outrageous.”
Bush, between campaign stops in New Hampshire, said the appropriate response is a third alternative to radical Islam in Syriaand the region, and to the “brutal Assad regime” supported by Russia and Iran.
“We need to create a third way which has the support of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, of the other Persian Gulf countries, of Jordan, of Egypt,” Bush said. “And we need to train that force and create a safe zone for them to operate in, and we need to have a no-fly zone, made more complicated by the fact that the Russians just unilaterally built up their air force and their military capacity in Syria.”
In the interview, Bush also repeated his support for the New Hampshire presidential primary, following remarks by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus that he would like to shake up the nominating calendar after 2016.
Bush said the early states are small enough and unique enough to give candidates a chance, and voters a chance, to meet them and learn their issues.
“I find voters here very discerning. They ask good questions. There’s a real interest. They read your papers. They meet the candidates,” Bush said.
Bush also held a town hall meeting in Bedford on Wednesday night, while GOP rivals Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson were campaigning at similar events in Keene and Durham, respectively.
Bush, a former Florida governor who’s sparred with Trump on the campaign trail, said the large field of Republican candidates has made for a vigorous debate on the issues. He said his campaign was driving the debate and producing policy proposals.
“If you don’t get better each and every day your ears and your eyes aren’t open,” he said in an interview over coffee at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Manchester. He said he’s upbeat about the campaign’s direction.
Bush noted that he dials a lot of numbers that start with 603. He recalled one conversation with a New Hampshire Republican who told him that he’d narrowed his choices down to three candidates, and Bush was in the mix. “That’s good,” Bush responded, “‘because the last time I was in your top 18.'”
He speaks of taking a long view, and the long road, to the New Hampshire primary. From here on out, Bush estimates he will be in New Hampshire at least every other week until February. “You just grind it out, work it out,” he said.
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