Jeb Bush, a likely presidential contender, said Tuesday that President Obama’s greatest accomplishment was keeping in place controversial spying programs at the National Security Agency.

“I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs,” Bush said in an interview on the Michael Medved radio show.

Bush argued the NSA programs had been “enhanced” under Obama, even if the president “never defends them or openly admits it.”

{mosads}The former Florida governor said the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data was “an important service” carried out in a way that protects individual civil liberties.

He lauded the Obama administration for refusing to buckle under pressure from Democrats, civil liberties groups and some Republicans.

“He has not abandoned them,” Bush said.

Critics of the NSA programs say they’re a massive affront to individual privacy, while defenders say they’re a critical tool in uncovering and combating terrorism.

The issue has revealed an early split among some Republican presidential contenders.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has long been a critic of the programs, sued the Obama administration last year over the bulk collection of phone records.

And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) co-sponsored legislation that would have dramatically scaled back the program by requiring the spy agency to first get a court order before obtaining records from private phone companies.

Bush on Tuesday also took a swipe at the president, saying his other great accomplishment was delivering “two of the biggest wave elections since the 1920s” to Republicans.

Turning his fire on Hillary Clinton, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bush said the former secretary of State’s early campaign appearances looked “contrived.”

Clinton is hitting early voting states in a black van she’s dubbed the “Scooby Doo van.”

Tags Jeb Bush NSA NSA surveillance programs Obama
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