Jeb Bush campaigning in Florida. Image from Bush campaign video
Jeb Bush campaigning in Florida. Image from Bush campaign video

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pledged to take the offensive against the Islamic State if he is elected president.

“The threat of global jihad, and of the Islamic State in particular, requires all the strength, unity, and confidence that only American leadership can provide,” Bush, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley Tuesday.

“Instead of simply reacting to each new move the terrorists choose to make, we will use every advantage we have to take the offensive, to keep it, and to prevail.”

Bush was critical of President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

“That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill — and that Iran has exploited to the full as well,” Bush said.

“ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat. And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away. In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly one time.

“Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the president and Secretary Clinton — the storied ‘team of rivals’ — took office?

“So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers. It was a case of blind haste to get out, and to call the tragic consequences somebody else’s problem. Rushing away from danger can be every bit as unwise as rushing into danger, and the costs have been grievous.”

A second Republican presidential candidate was also in the Southland today. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio conducted a two-part fundraiser at the Petroleum Club in Long Beach.

Tickets for a roundtable discussion were $2,700, the maximum individual contribution for a candidate seeking his or her party’s under federal law.

Admission to a luncheon that follows was $1,000, according to an invitation posted on the website, which tracks political fundraisers.

Like nearly all fundraisers for presidential candidates, the Rubio fundraiser was closed to reporters.

—City News Service

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