“I miss George W. Bush. I wish he were president right now.”
That may be the most memorable line from Tuesday night’s undercard Republican presidential debate, during which an impassioned Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) bashed President Barack Obama‘s strategy against the Islamic State as weak an ineffective.
“The surge worked. It worked,” Graham said, referring to the 2007 increase in ground troops fighting in Iraq. “George W Bush made mistakes, but he did adjust. I blame Obama for ISIL, not Bush.”
The rise of the Islamic State—a group originally allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq—began as a result of the power vacuum caused by the removal of former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein. After the withdrawal of the majority of U.S. troops in the region three years ago, ISIS began its rise to power.
Obama’s refusal to fight a ground war against ISIS drew widespread criticism among the candidates on stage during the undercard debate, which featured Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Screengrab via CNN.com