Jeb Bush's biggest applause line of the night has a flaw

During the second Republican debate Wednesday night, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) got a big applause when stepped up and defended his brother, George W. Bush, amid an attack from front-runner Donald Trump.

During a back and forth with Trump, Bush said, “As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe.”

It’s an noteworthy comment, since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks happened when George W. Bush was president. 

A lot of people lept on Bush’s line and noted the problem with it.

Matthew Yglesias at, for instance, said, “The vast majority of people killed on American soil by terrorists throughout the entirety of American history were killed during George W. Bush’s administration. It’s not even close. And this was followed up by the deaths of an even larger number of Americans during Bush’s invasion of Iraq.”

The attack, however, came just eight months into the Bush presidency. And Republicans have argued for years that the administration of Bill Clinton, if anyone, should bear the blame for the attack. Democrats have argued that Bush chose to ignore warnings about Osama bin Laden while focusing on other domestic and foreign-policy priorities.

Either way, the plain truth is the the deadliest attack on American soil happened while Bush was president.

If this is going to be a line Jeb Bush trots out in the future, Democrats could choose to pounce — though it is worth noting that no established Democrat did following Bush’s comments Wednesday. And from the applause that Bush received, it’s clear that Republicans agree with him.

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