Bush chides Clinton's 'scripted' run, but won't revisit Iraq

AP News
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Posted: May 13, 2015 5:08 PM

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Jeb Bush is criticizing Hillary Rodham Clinton for running a "scripted" Democratic presidential campaign. But he's not answering all questions that come his way, either.

At a town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada, on Wednesday, the Republican presidential hopeful again refused to say whether he would have proceeded with the 2003 invasion of Iraq if he'd been in his brother's shoes. Anyone in hindsight "would have made different decisions," he said. "There is no denying that. But to delve into that and not focus on the future, I think is where I need to draw the line."

Bush made multiple references during his appearance before about 200 people to what he called Clinton's refusal to interact with voters during her campaign. Clinton's events are tightly controlled and she takes few questions from the press. She has met voters in some limited settings.

"You can't script your way to the presidency, put yourself in a protective bubble and never interact with people — only talk with people that totally agree with you," Bush said. "That's not going to work. That's not very sincere."

Yet Bush was pressed by a voter at the town hall for dismissing questions about the Iraq war as hypothetical. The voter asked Bush whether such questions shouldn't be fair game, considering that he hasn't yet declared his candidacy, making his own presidential aspirations hypothetical.

"Talking about the future is more than fair," Bush replied. "Talking about the past, saying how would you have done something after the fact is a little tougher, and it doesn't necessarily change anything." President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq.

As Florida governor, Jeb Bush said, he had to phone the families of more than 100 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

"Going back in time and talking hypothetically does a disservice to them," he said. "If we are going to get back into hypotheticals, it does a disservice to a lot of people who sacrificed a lot."