Presidential races

Bush criticizes spending during brother’s administration

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Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) on Thursday criticized his brother, George W. Bush, for not using his veto power to rein in spending during the second Bush administration.

{mosads}“Are there differences?” Jeb Bush asked of contrasts between him and the former president, according to NBC News. “Yeah sure, I think that [in] Washington, during my brother’s time, Republicans spent too much money,” he said during an appearance in New Hampshire.

“I think he could have used the veto power,” he added.

The remarks were the first time Jeb Bush offered major criticism of his older brother’s time in office, between 2001 and 2009.

He argued on Thursday that President Obama had further eroded the federal government’s fiscal responsibility.

“That seems kind of quaint right now, given the fact that after he left, budget deficits and spending have gone up astronomically,” Bush said of Obama’s spending habits.

“But having constraints on spending across the board during his time would have been a good thing,” he said of his brother’s budget policies.

Bush said he was reluctant to attack the legacy of any past Republican president, including his brother’s.

“I don’t feel compelled to go out of my way to criticize Republican presidents,” he said.

“Just call me a team player here,” the former governor quipped.

“It just so happens the last two Republican presidents happen to be my brother and my dad, but you won’t hear me complain about Ronald Reagan either,” he said.

Bush’s comments come as he weighs his own possible White House run in 2016.

He has wrestled with his brother’s record in recent weeks, given the unpopularity of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Bush initially said in an interview aired on May 11 he would have repeated his brother’s controversial decision.

“I would have [authorized the invasion] and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everyone,” he told Fox News host Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.”

“And so would almost everyone who was confronted with the intelligence they got,” he added.

Bush then reversed course on May 14 by recanting his support for the military operation.

“If we are all supposed to answer hypothetical questions, ‘knowing what we know now, what would you have done,’ I would not have engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq,” he said during an event in Arizona.

The Bush brothers have said the brutality of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s regime justified the Iraq invasion.

The 2003 military campaign resulted in Hussein’s ouster and eventual execution.

“That’s not to say the world [isn’t] safer because Saddam Hussein is gone — it is significantly safer,” Jeb Bush argued on May 14.  

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