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Jeb Bush Calls For Use Of Ground Troops In Fight Against ISIS


The attacks in Paris have put national security at the center of the 2016 presidential race. There are several new ads on the topic from Ben Carson, John Kasich and Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP: Yes, I will also quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS. We'll rebuild our military and make it so strong, no one - and I mean no one - will mess with us.

CORNISH: And today, Jeb Bush spoke to cadets at the Citadel - the military college in South Carolina. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Bush spoke first of what he called the atrocities in Paris and the murder of innocents whose only crime was living in freedom.


JEB BUSH: Our hearts are broken for the people of France.

GONYEA: Moments later, a line clearly aimed at the crowded GOP presidential field and outsider candidates like Trump and Carson.


BUSH: And if these attacks remind us of anything, it is that we're living in serious times that require serious leadership.

GONYEA: Then he turned his attention to President Obama.


BUSH: Here's the truth you will not hear from our president. We are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.

GONYEA: Three times, Bush used that phrase. He also pledged to beef up the military and included some specifics - an increase of 40,000 active soldiers for the Army. The Marines would add numbers as well.


BUSH: Our best presidents called that peace through strength.

GONYEA: But on confronting ISIS, there were fewer details. He said the U.S. needs to act with NATO and Arab partners without delay, and he called for intensifying efforts in the air and on the ground. He did not say how big U.S. ground forces need to be.


BUSH: The bulk of these ground troops will come from local forces that we have built workable relationships with.

GONYEA: He championed the Patriot Act which was signed into law by his brother, President George W. Bush, setting aside complaints about government surveillance and violations of privacy.


BUSH: And I will fight to restore the Patriot Act's metadata program to ensure we have the ability to connect the dots between known foreign terrorists and the potential operatives here in the United States of America.


GONYEA: Bush's main message was that President Obama has underestimated the threat of ISIS and has failed to lead the world in an effective response, mistakes Jeb Bush says he will not make. Bush did not mention either of the past presidents Bush - his father or his brother - or their past involvement in Iraq and the Middle East. Don Gonyea, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.