On “Fox News Sunday” Washington Post columnist George Will said at the debate last night Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was using the playbook of the “hard left” with his criticisms of former President George W. Bush.
Partial transcript as follows:
WALLACE: George, your reaction to the debate and to a different part of it, which was Donald Trump’s apparent search and destroy mission against Jeb Bush and his brother.
WILL: Well, yes, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, didn’t break the camel’s back. It was the critical mass, the accumulation of straws. And the question is, people say, well, Trump’s immune to mere accumulation. The vulgarity and profanity added up. But last night I think he may have passed the frontier. The man who has supported partial birth abortion and gun control and eminent domain and all the rest last night adopted the most vicious line of the hard left in this country, Bush lied, people died. No one doubts that Bush was wrong and all the others about the presence of weapons of mass destruction. And to say that Bush lied and derivatively Colin Powell lied and everyone else in the administration, will not, I think, go down well in South Carolina, which rescued George W. Bush in 2000 after he lost badly in the New Hampshire primary to John McCain. So I think that if there is such a thing as a critical mass, he’s approaching it.
WALLACE: You know, David, I — I was surprised, because it seems so gratuitous to go after — I know that George W. Bush, Bush 43, is going to be on the campaign trail tomorrow with his brother, but it seemed odd that he would decide this was the moment to re-litigate the Iraq war. Given the fact that he went into that debate, if you believe the polls with about a 15 point lead, do you think it changed the dynamic of the race on the Republican side?
DAVID GREGORY, FORMER MODERATOR OF NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS”: Well, I do think there’s a combination of the vulgarity and the kind of torching of former President Bush. It was Marco Rubio who had the best response, which is, the best defense of Bush is that he kept the country safe after 9/11 and there can certainly be a debate about the execution of the war, even the basis of the war in Iraq. No doubt about that. but you’ve got 58,000 veterans in South Carolina, W. Bush, former President Bush, is popular down there. Yes, so I don’t see the wisdom of it. It allows Jeb Bush an opportunity to kind of fight for the establishment. He’s going after Trump, I think, in an effective way in that regard. And there’s still Cruz, who I think is making a strong ideological case against Trump on temperament, on ideology, on not being a conservative and with evangelical support down there, I think he’s — he’s got some game.
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