A conservative group is launching a campaign calling former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) “unelectable” because he gave Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema MORE an award in 2013.
In the minds of ForAmerica, a conservative group founded by Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Center, that one appearance is enough to disqualify him from a 2016 bid entirely.
“Anytime Jeb calls Hillary 'Obama 2.0,' any criticism he makes of her awful record as Secretary of State, any time he shows how much of an extremist she is on the issues, will be completely dismissed when she reminds everyone that he gave her an award for public service,” Bozell said in a statement.
“Jeb has absolutely no credibility to criticize her because he has already anointed her as a great public servant; and he inexplicably did so almost a year to the day of the Benghazi massacre," he continued. "He will lose, and the public will have to suffer at least another four years of Obama’s policies — and anything worse she has in store for America.”
As chairman of the National Constitution Center, Bush gave Clinton a lifetime achievement award for public service and her work on women’s rights.
A video released by ForAmerica shows footage of Bush thanking Clinton and her husband, President Bill Clinton.
"We are united by love of country and public service,” Bush says. The video then shows text calling Hillary Clinton “responsible for the security of the American embassy in Benghazi” and noting that the 2012 attack on the embassy that left four Americans dead “occurred on her watch.”
The event occurred one night before the first anniversary of the Benghazi attacks.
Bush has finished near the top of most national polls of Republican voters, but some of the party’s more conservative figures argue that he is too moderate for their liking and will struggle to win the base and nomination.
Most potential candidates, including former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ala.), Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) are expected to run well to the right of Bush, who has been hit by conservative Republicans over his support for Common Core education standards and immigration reform.