PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Jeb Bush thinks he has a clear edge over Hillary Clinton on one part of their political track records — emails.
Bush on Thursday criticized the Democratic presidential front-runner for claiming the emails from her time at the State Department are “not mine” and therefore she has limited ability to unilaterally release them to the public.
“I released 250,000 emails and put them online not just for the press to see, but anyone can go online and see my emails,” Bush said when asked about Clinton’s statement Tuesday that she no longer has access to the 55,000 pages of emails she turned over to State last year.
“I don’t know her deal, I just know that emails are a two-way street, right?” Bush said. “You send them and you receive them. So if someone sent them, if someone received them, it seems like you ought to have the ability to know where your emails are.”
Bush, who typically takes questions at town halls and from reporters when making public appearances, has also been critical of Clinton’s unwillingness to answer questions from the media, but said Wednesday that her brief Q&A with reporters in Iowa Tuesday was a positive sign.
“I’m sure now she’ll start doing more of it, I hope,” Bush said. “If you’re a candidate or thinking about being a candidate, it’s part of the process for sure. I’m happy to answer your questions.”
Bush’s comments came after an hourlong roundtable here Wednesday morning with a group of business leaders organized by Renee Plummer, a prominent New Hampshire Republican who has now played host to six 2016 hopefuls. It’s part of a two-day swing through this first-in-the-nation primary state that also includes a house party Wednesday night and more town hall-style events on Thursday.
Bush focused on his record as Florida governor and contrasted the economic growth he oversaw with a national economy that, he argued, isn’t creating opportunity for people in the middle. Undercutting his argument, however, was some positive news in the state he is visiting — New Hampshire reported on Wednesday that its unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent, with more people in the state now holding jobs than did before the 2008 recession.
Bush also went out of his way to emphasize a political strategy that likely holds appeal in purple New Hampshire — campaigning outside the GOP’s normal comfort zone in an effort to win the general election and governing with an eye on breaking the gridlock on Capitol Hill.
“That’s what I wanted to hear,” said Plummer, who won’t commit to a candidate until this fall but said Bush was far more effective speaking to her group of business leaders than he was at the state GOP’s First in the Nation Summit last month.
“He was presidential today,” she said.
Bush, who told the crowd that the “ship is stable” again after acknowledging a rocky week after his stumbles responding to a hypothetical question about the Iraq War, continued to call for a more muscular approach to foreign policy and again focused attention on President Barack Obama’s decision to remove U.S. forces from Iraq, arguing that the ensuing void gave rise to the Islamic State, rather than his brother’s decision to go to war 12 years ago.
“I think it’s fair game to say that the surge was a success and that pulling back has created a void that has been filled by what President Obama called the ‘junior varsity’,” Bush said. “Doesn’t look like the junior varsity anymore.”
Asked what the U.S. should do now to stabilize the region, Bush offered no specifics, reverting to his standard argument that Obama’s policies have led to more instability throughout the world and poorer diplomatic relations with every country save for Cuba and Iran.
The questions persisted as Bush made his way through a crowd of reporters to his SUV waiting outside, before Plummer’s daughter Jackie, who is pregnant with her third child, yelled she is going to name the boy Jeb.
Bush turned around and gave her a second hug before leaving; she quickly acknowledged to reporters that she was joking and not likely to name her son after the presidential hopeful.
“My husband would kill me,” she said.
Original article here.