Jeb Bush intensified his foreign policy assaults on both his Democrat and Republican rivals this week, hitting them for a lack of seriousness and incompetence specifically on the issue of Syria.
The attacks follow Bush’s strategy in drawing contrasts between Republican front-runner Donald Trump and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – showcasing a sense of compassion Bush says is lacking in the GOP presidential field.
“This is a place where American leadership is desperately needed,” Bush said earlier this month.
Bush remains a distant fifth in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll with support from just eight percent of GOP voters, far behind frontrunners Donald Trump (25 percent) and Ben Carson (22 percent).
The campaign released a video just last week knocking Trump for telling NBC’s Chuck Todd that he gets foreign policy advice from watching television shows and Bush has sent tweets trying Clinton to “disturbing” Obama foreign policy.
Bush hit Clinton again on Thursday as she prepared to appear before the House Select Committee on Benghazi by tweeting, “Benghazi security failures were a stunning example of an incompetent foreign policy. @HillaryClinton’s role as SOS deserves scrutiny today.”
Bush repeatedly calls for U.S. engagement in Syria as part of a unified effort to create safe-zones, implement no-fly zones and rebuild the Syrian Free Army.
In particular on the issue of Syrian refugees, Bush has talked about an American duty to take in refugees – in particular persecuted Christians – in a striking contrast to Trump’s comments that he would send refugees back to where they came from.
To that effect, the Bush campaign is out with a new video shared exclusively with NBC News, which highlights the story of Syrian-American Nora Barre who shared her family’s story with the governor during recent campaign stops in New Hampshire.
In an emotional exchange in Bedford, New Hampshire, Barre told Bush of fourteen family members who fled the war-ravaged Syria after having both their home and factory bombed. She said she’s been supporting her family for the past five years just so they can eat and asked the governor how he plans to address the issue.
“We’re duty bound to provide support,” Bush told Barre. “We need to be part of the strategy to deal with taking Assad out and taking ISIS out.”
Bush’s response, as highlighted in the new video, struck a chord with Barre.
“He knows what’s going on in Syria and he answered the question directly,” Barre says. “It was exactly what I wanted to hear.”
The video highlighting Bush’s exchange with Barre puts a human face on the foreign policy issue and provides the candidate an opportunity connect his foreign policy stance to his repeated calls for compassion.
Barre later attended a Bush town hall event in Lebanon, New Hampshire with her daughter touting her support of Bush’s bid for the White House. The campaign says Barre is supporting Bush’s candidacy based on his position on Syria after supporting President Obama’s candidacy in 2008.