Bush Opens New Front in Attack on Clinton’s Foreign Policy Record

NYT FDAmy Chozick 8/12/2015

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Good Wednesday morning from what scientists now say is a dying universe and where Donald J. Trump remains the leader in Republican polls. But while he dabbled in policy discussions and held a large rally in Michigan on Tuesday, one of his major rivals, Jeb Bush, regained some of the spotlight by attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton over the Obama administration’s policies in the Middle East.

Republican attacks on Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative speeches and her comment that she was “dead broke” seem quaint compared with linking her to the violence, beheadings and instability sweeping the Middle East.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bush ushered in a new phase of the campaign, where Mrs. Clinton’s record at the State Department will face intense scrutiny for the rise of the Islamic State and the violence engulfing Syria and Iraq.

In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Mr. Bush said Mrs. Clinton “stood by” as secretary of state as the situation in Iraq worsened and the Obama administration pulled troops out, a vacuum that he said the Islamic State had rushed in to fill.

The Clinton campaign, in turn, cast the blame further back, saying that President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in the first place created the group. “ISIS grew out of Al Qaeda in Iraq,” said Jake Sullivan, the Clinton campaign’s senior policy adviser, “It emerged in no small part as a result of President Bush’s failed strategy.”

Mrs. Clinton, whose vote to authorize the war in Iraq hurt her in the 2008 Democratic nominating contest, hardly talks about foreign policy or her time at the State Department. Instead, she devotes her town-hall-style events and speeches to policy areas like the economy, the environment and her new college affordability plan.

But as Mr. Bush made clear on Tuesday, Republicans will press the issue with Mrs. Clinton on foreign policy and over the Obama administration’s approach — whether over the spread of the Islamic State, the “reset” of relations with Russia or the nuclear deal with Iran.