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In radio interview, Jeb Bush praises NSA surveillance


Asked by a Seattle radio host Tuesday to name the best thing President Obama's administration has done, likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush cited the government's controversial surveillance programs.

"The NSA being enhanced," he told host Michael Medved in a pre-recorded interview, "while protecting civil liberties."

Bush praised Obama for continuing National Security Agency programs begun under his brother, George W. Bush, that have drawn the ire of civil libertarians who object to the government's power to listen to conversations or otherwise gather data on law-abiding citizens.

"He's not abandoned them," Jeb Bush said.

Bush has advocated for the expanded surveillance programs in the past, calling the technology "hugely important" in a February speech and reiterating in March that Obama should defend and explain the intelligence gathering. Marco Rubio, the Florida Senator who unlike Bush has formally announced his presidential candidacy, has also stood by the programs, describing them as essential in a dangerous world.

A fellow GOP presidential hopeful, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has made criticism of the programs a key campaign platform.

Bush is in the Pacific Northwest raising money for his still-not-campaign campaign.