DUBUQUE, Iowa — Hillary Rodham Clinton was in the midst of lambasting the Republican candidates for president on women’s issues here Friday afternoon when she added “George Bush” to her target list.
She meant Jeb Bush. But Clinton seemed to relish her error.
“I get confused,” she said, as the crowd applauded. “Oh, well.”
The moment, coming at a town here here in this early voting state, served as perhaps an accidental preview of the kinds of attacks Jeb Bush, the former Florida Republican governor, will face in bulk from Democrats if he is the GOP nominee for president. Bush has struggled this week to step out of his brother’s shadow, particularly on Iraq. He has embraced some of George W. Bush’s key policies and he even used a phrase reminiscent of one of the 43rd president’s most infamous moments.
On Iraq, Jeb Bush has also intensified his attacks against Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. In a major foreign policy speech, he blamed President Obama and Clinton for their “premature” decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the country — a decision he said was a “fatal error.”
Clinton, who voted for the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, responded here Friday.
“I do think that it’s a little bit surprising to hear Jeb Bush talk about this,” she said, noting that his brother signed an agreement as president to withdraw combat troops from the nation by 2011. “He expects the American people to have a collective case of amnesia.”
Clinton also went directly after George W. Bush, blaming him for failing to deal with the nuclear threat presented by Iran during his presidency.
“It was under George W. Bush that the Iranians mastered the nuclear fuel cycle,” she said. “It was under George W. Bush that the Iranians built covert facilities.”