Probable U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush criticized former President George W. Bush on Thursday for permitting too much federal government spending.
The remark came after a week on the defensive for first saying he would have invaded Iraq just as his brother did, then reversing course and backtracking, and finally said that he misheard the question as “knowing what you knew then” and that “given the power of looking back, of course anybody would’ve made different decisions.”
"Sure, I think that in Washington during my brother's time Republicans spent too much money," Bush said during an obvious shift in campaign style.
Former president George W. Bush’s record on the federal budget has been a longstanding complaint by fiscal conservatives that the Bush administration was too free-spending.
"He could have brought budget discipline to Washington, D.C.," Bush told reporters toward the end of a two-day campaign swing through New Hampshire.
Total federal spending under George W. Bush grew from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to nearly $3 trillion in 2008, according to White House figures, making him a frequent target of criticism from fiscal conservatives.
"I'm blessed to be a member of the Bush family, but I also have lived my own life," Bush said on Thursday.
However, he emphasized he is different from his brother and everyone else in his family.
The former Florida governor Bush who is exploring a 2016 presidential bid is expected to declare his candidacy next month.