WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush won a big round of applause at last week's Republican presidential debate when he defended his brother's legacy by claiming that he "kept us safe."
Republicans and veterans of the George W. Bush administration frequently made the same argument in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. But Jeb Bush's claim angered Democrats who said it conveniently left out the fact that the attacks happened on his brother's watch. The liberal group Americans United for Change immediately took to the airwaves accusing the former Florida governor of attempting to "rewrite history."
At a campaign event in Mason City, Iowa, on Monday, Bush stood by his remarks, but added the caveat liberals were looking for.
"He kept us safe," the GOP candidate said of his brother. "The simple fact is after 9/11, the president of the United States did unite this country, and he did keep us safe. And now we need to build on that in a bipartisan way."
Watch the video of Bush's remarks, above.
Bush on Sunday accused Hillary Clinton of orchestrating the Americans United for Change ad. The organization shares its president with Correct the Record, a super PAC allied with Clinton's campaign.
"Your political machine’s 9/11 ad is disgraceful. As a New Yorker you know the leadership my brother provided after 9/11," Bush said in a tweet directed at Clinton, again adding the temporal qualifier.
Bush has at several points grappled with his brother's legacy during the presidential campaign. In May, the candidate struggled to answer whether he would have invaded Iraq, giving several different answers before finally saying he would not have done so based on hindsight. Upon officially entering the race, Bush promised to be his "own man," even though he has surrounded himself by many of the same advisers who guided his brother's foreign policy.