Republicans running for president in 2016 are increasingly taking off their gloves.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who is considering a Republican presidential bid, is the latest to throw barbs at one of his potential rivals. In an interview published Wednesday in The Washington Post, Kasich argued that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) doesn’t have a coherent campaign message.
The paper asked Kasich if his presumed campaign would strike a similar tone as Bush, to which Kasich replied, “I don’t know anything about [Bush’s theme].”
“I really don’t. I’ve never listened to him. What’s ‘Right to Rise?’ Getting up in the morning?” added Kasich, who is known for having an acerbic edge.
Right to Rise is the name of the Leadership PAC and Super PAC started by Bush as he considers a possible 2016 presidential run. Bush attributed the name of the PAC to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), who has used it extensively. The phrase had been used in a 1848 speech given by former President Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Other candidates have similarly bashed their likely GOP foes. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) slammed presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) Wednesday using particularly harsh words after Paul claimed it was GOP foreign policy hawks whose policies created the Islamic State (also known as ISIS).
“This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief. We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position,” Jindal sniped in a statement. “It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it’s time for the rest of us to say it.”
But Paul’s team didn’t back down, either. Reached for comment by Business Insider, a senior Paul campaign adviser unloaded on Jindal, who he said had “cratered his own state’s economy and budget.”
“It’s ironic Gov Jindal would level such a charge when he flip-flops on crucial issues like common core and national security, and he has cratered his own state’s economy and budget. Just last week, Gov. Jindal spoke out in support of Sen. Paul and announced he now opposes the NSA’s illegal and unnecessary domestic bulk data collection, after previously cheerleading for it,” said the Paul adviser, Doug Stafford.
A Jindal adviser, Timmy Teepell, reacted to Stafford’s statement by declaring that it’s “astonishing that Sen. Paul will blame conservative Americans for the rise of ISIS but will hide behind a staffer rather than defend his comments.”
Jindal continued lacing into Paul in a CNN interview on Thursday.
Not everyone is aggressively engaging their rivals, however. Bush’s team didn’t have any comment on Kasich’s criticism when reached by Business Insider.
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