Hillary Clinton rips into Bush over discrimination

  • 01/08/2015
Democratic U.S presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (Reuters)
Democratic U.S presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (Reuters)

Hillary Clinton has launched a broadside against White House rival Jeb Bush, accusing the Republican in his home state of failing to tackle discrimination or improve conditions for minorities.

Clinton addressed a National Urban League leadership conference on Friday north of Miami, where Bush took the same stage nearly an hour later, but declined to respond in kind to the Democratic frontrunner's remarks.

Two of the most high-profile 2016 candidates touched on the delicate issues of structural poverty, race in America, and income and education inequality.

Clinton used a Bush slogan - "right to rise", which is also the name of the leading political action committee backing Bush's candidacy - to castigate him for shortcomings of his tenure as Florida governor.

"Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this and what they actually do when they are elected," Clinton said.

"I don't think you can credibly say that everyone has a 'right to rise' and then say you're for phasing out Medicare or repealing Obamacare," she added.

Democrats have accused Republicans of seeking to roll back the Voting Rights Act, which sought to ensure blacks have equal rights to vote.

Clinton went further than Bush in highlighting the role race still plays in determining "who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind" and recalled the names of several young unarmed black men recently killed in police-involved shootings.

Bush spoke less on the policing crisis and more about his revolutionising Florida's school system, including launching charter schools.

But he did cite his 2001 removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Florida Capitol and placing it in a museum, describing his action as "an easy call".

And he gave a nod to President Barack Obama's efforts to bring healing to a nation grieving over deadly racist attacks.

"When Obama says that, for too long we've been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present, he's speaking truth," Bush said.


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