'George W. Bush was right': Democrats find unlikely ally to counter Republicans

WASHINGTON -- Taunted by Republicans to declare war on "radical Islamic terrorism," Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally: George W.

See Full Article

Bush.

President Barack Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor's refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. It's a striking endorsement from a president whose political rise was based on opposition to the Iraq war and Bush's hawkish approach in the Middle East.

As Hillary Clinton put it, "George W. Bush was right."

Clinton reminded voters earlier this month of Bush's visit to a Muslim centre six days after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. She even quoted his words from that day about those who intimidate Muslim-Americans: "They represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behaviour."

Leading Republican candidate Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Fellow candidate Ben Carson deems traditional Muslims unfit for the presidency. Marco Rubio warns of a "civilizational struggle against radical, apocalyptic Islam." Ted Cruz berates Clinton and Obama for refusing to declare war on "radical Islamic terrorism."

Clinton and Obama argue that rhetoric just helps the Islamic State group and like-minded extremists, whose recruitment pitch is based on the narrative of an apocalyptic battle between Islam and the West. The Democrats warned that proposals like Trump's Muslim ban jeopardize national security, drawing a contrast with Bush.

"I was very proud after 9-11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam," Obama said recently. His message to today's Republican leaders: "They should follow his example. It was the right one. It was the right impulse."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's top challenger for the Democratic nomination, visited a mosque this month in a show of solidarity that evoked Bush's after 9-11. And the Democratic National Committee released an ad contrasting comments by the 2016 Republican contenders with footage of Bush declaring that "Islam is peace."

Bush's example has become particularly poignant for Democrats following recent attacks in Paris and California that have left people more preoccupied with terrorism than at any time since 9-11. Both Clinton and Obama have sought to deflect the critique that they're too soft on the domestic terrorism threat.

Not all Republican candidates have been as harsh about Muslims as Trump has been. Jeb Bush has joined his challengers in describing the enemy as "radical Islamic terrorism." But he's also said the U.S. should follow his brother's lead, arguing in the last party debate that "we can't dissociate ourselves from peace-loving Muslims."

The former president has stayed mostly silent throughout the recent debate. His spokesman, Freddy Ford, recently said Bush wouldn't comment on "Trump's bluster" but repeated Bush's insistence that "true Islam is peaceful." Ford declined to discuss what Bush thinks about Democrats quoting him now.

Muslim groups have called on Obama to follow Bush's example by visiting a mosque, a move that would be risky for a president who has faced longstanding but false claims that he is a Muslim. White House officials didn't rule out the possibility Obama would visit a mosque, but said there were no imminent plans to do so.

"Bush sent a very powerful message to the world and American Muslims that backlash and attacks on this faith community will not be tolerated," said Ibrahim Cooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We would hope President Obama would make a similar gesture."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Memorial site: Alberta apologizes to families for cleaning up plane wreckage

    Canada News CTV News
    WHITECOURT, Alta. -- The province of Alberta is apologizing to the families of three people killed in a plane crash almost 65 years ago after cleaning up the wreckage without warning. A memorial site near Whitecourt, Alta. Source
  • Ontario PCs' Urgent Priorities Act to address hydro salaries, York University strike

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government has introduced legislation that, if passed, would give it sweeping new powers over executive compensation at Hydro One. The bill, dubbed the Urgent Priorities Act, was introduced today by Energy Minister Greg Rickford and would give the government authority to approve executive compensation at the utility. Source
  • 'This is shameful': Trump's news conference with Putin stuns fellow Republicans

    World News CBC News
    On a trip in which Donald Trump dumbfounded allies and his usual critics in the Democrat Party with comments concerning the European Union and British leaders, the U.S. president ended with a news conference performance at his first head-to-head summit with Russia President Vladimir Putin that had even some Republicans shaking their heads. Source
  • Lawmakers call Trump's performance 'bizarre,' 'shameful'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Key members of Congress, including some Republicans, are criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's performance at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as "bizarre," "shameful" and a "missed opportunity" to stand up to Russia. Source
  • Members of Trudeau's youth council urge cancellation of Kinder Morgan buyout

    Canada News CBC News
    Members of Justin Trudeau's youth council are urging the prime minister to withdraw his decision to buy Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. Sixteen past and present members of the youth council are releasing a letter to Trudeau expressing their "disappointment" in the Liberal government's move to buy the pipeline project for $4.5 billion. Source
  • Judge temporarily halts deportation of reunified families

    World News CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- A federal judge on Monday ordered a temporary halt to any deportations of reunited families who were separated by the Trump administration after crossing the southwest border. The American Civil Liberties Union had asked Judge Dana Sabraw to delay deportations a week after reunification. Source
  • 'A class act': Ray Emery played in a Hamilton charity hockey game the night before he died

    Canada News CBC News
    Ray Emery was giving back to Hamilton and playing the game he loved the night before he died. The ex-NHL goalie was one of several current and former professional players who hit the ice as part of Hockey Night in Hamilton, a charity game that raised funds for Food4Kids. Source
  • Workers at Goderich salt mine accept deal to end 12-week strike

    Canada News CBC News
    The 12-week strike at the salt mine in Goderich, Ontario is over. Workers voted Monday to accept a three-year deal reached between Unifor Local 16-0 and the mine owner, Compass Minerals. The salt mine, the world's largest, employs more than 350 unionized workers. Source
  • Iran arrests 46 in fresh crackdowns on Instagram models

    World News CTV News
    TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of people in fresh crackdowns on models and associated colleagues posting "immoral images" online. The official IRNA news agency reported Monday that officials in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, some 1250 kilometres, or 630 miles, south of the capital Tehran, arrested eight women and 36 other people in the photography, beauty salons and wedding businesses who used Instagram to share what they considered indecent images and…
  • 'Kloe inside washer': Mom's post about girl trapped in front-loading machine goes viral

    World News CTV News
    A mother is warning other parents about the dangers of front-loaded laundry equipment after her three-year-old daughter became trapped in a new washing machine. Lindsey McIver’s story has garnered more than 250,000 shares on Facebook since July 11. Source