WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested at a gathering of civil rights activists on Friday that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) can’t credibly claim to support the advancement of minorities and the poor given his positions on Medicare, the minimum wage, education and voting rights.
Clinton made her comments at a National Urban League conference held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, shortly before Bush, who is running for the Republican nomination, took the same stage. She didn’t utter Bush’s name, but made repeated reference to the phrase “Right to Rise,” which is the name of the super PAC backing Bush’s candidacy. Bush is closely linked to the PAC, and was fundraising for it until he officially announced that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination.
“I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a ‘right to rise’ and then say you are for phasing out Medicare and repealing Obamacare,” Clinton said, referring to Bush’s comment last week that the U.S. should “phase out” the federal program that provides health insurance to Americans once they turn 65 and replace it with a different system. “People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care.”
Clinton referred to Bush’s opposition to raising the minimum wage, Florida’s ban on affirmative action in university admissions and state contracts during his time as governor and the controversial voter purge he oversaw ahead of the 2000 presidential election.
“They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on,” Clinton said. “They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.”
The former secretary of state added that “the real test” of a candidate’s authenticity is whether their positions match their rhetoric.
“Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this and what they actually do when they’re elected,” she said.
Tim Miller, Bush’s communications director, tweeted that Clinton’s comments were a “false cheap shot.”
In his own speech at the event later on Friday morning, Bush defended his record, saying his administration had given people “the tools to move up in the world” by creating jobs and expanding educational opportunities.
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