KEENE, New Hampshire—Jeb Bush is ramping up his critique of the senators rivaling him for the Republican nomination, and his campaign is out with a new video hitting them for shying away from military action against ISIS.
“Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio had a chance to stand for fighting against Assad and Isis when the president asked for authorization to use military force and both backed away,” Bush told voters at a Wednesday town hall, a comment that is featured in the video previewed exclusively to NBC News.
This latest attack accuses the senators of “talking tough” on national security but failing to back up their words with any action – a habit Bush frequently attributes to Congress.
Bush has made national security a hallmark of his final pitch to voters largely in a contrast to frontrunner Donald Trump, but now he is expanding that juxtaposition to the senators.
“We need someone with a steady hand with proven leadership skills,” Bush says in touting his own record.
The governor specifically criticizes Cruz’s past comment about “carpet bombing” ISIS and Rubio’s evolution over confronting the threat. Bush says the senators changed their positions following the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino last year while he has maintained a consistent position since his foreign policy speech at the Reagan Library in August.
The harshened rhetoric comes as Rubio upped his own attack on Bush Wednesday, hitting the governor’s past advocacy for Common Core and alluding to his establishment status within the Republican Party.
“We can't just keep electing the next person in line,” Rubio told reporters. “We can't just keep electing the people that raise the most money or have the most endorsements.”