Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush took to the Iowa State Fair’s famed soapbox on Friday where he faced more tough questions about his brother’s presidency and current instability in Iraq.
The soapbox is a rite of passage for candidates competing in the Iowa caucuses, and the crowd is often filled with Republicans, Democrats and, at times, protesters. The former Florida governor, who has spent this week tying the policies promoted by President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the rise of ISIS, faced pointed questions about President George W. Bush’s role in creating instability in the region.
One questioner wanted to know why Bush has retained Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the Iraq war, as a foreign policy adviser.
“Paul Wolfowitz is providing some advice. I get most of my advice from a team that I have in Miami, Florida,” Bush responded.
Another person protested to Bush that it was his brother, not Obama, that signed the agreement for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Bush has argued that the complete withdrawl of combat troops led to the rise of ISIS.
“It could have been modified and that was the expectation,” Bush said of the agreement signed by his brother. “Everybody in Iraq and everybody in Washington knew that this deal could have been expanded.”
Bush, who has been slipping in recent polls in Iowa, toured the State Fair in Des Moines before stepping up on the soapbox. His campaign boasted that he took more than three hours of questions.
He even stopped by the Iowa State Fair straw poll, where potential caucus goers drop kernels into the jar representing the candidate they are supporting.
When asked why he thinks rival Donald Trump's jar had so many kernals, Bush responded: “We’ll find out later, this is a long haul. Slow, steady progress. Ask me in December, then ask me in January."