CHARLESTON, SC -- In the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said the U.S. needs to intensify its efforts to defeat ISIS.
Speaking to a crowd of over 600 cadets, veterans, and faculty members at The Citadel, the military college in South Carolina, Bush said "The United States should not delay in leading a global coalition to take out ISIS with overwhelming force. As the words of French President Hollande have made clear, the United States will not be alone in galvanizing this global effort. Militarily, we need to intensify our efforts in the air -- and on the ground."
"While air power is essential, it alone cannot bring the results we seek," he continued. "The United States -- in conjunction with our NATO allies and more Arab partners -- will need to increase our presence on the ground."
Bush also condemned the defense spending cuts in 2013 and called for adding 40,000 troops to the army and another 4,000 to the Marine Corps.
He continued to make the case for why he is the best candidate to lead the country.
"This brutal savagery [in Paris] is a reminder of what is at stake in this election...we are choosing the leader of the free world. And if these attacks remind us of anything, it is that we are living in serious times that require serious leadership," he said.
Bush, 62, mentioned the refugee crisis only once, even as a growing number of governors have said they will not accept Syrian refugees.
"To take out ISIS, we must end Assad's brutal war against his own people and create a political solution that allows for a stable Syria," he said. "If you want to deal with the refugee problem properly, then we need to create a safe and secure Syria."
The former Florida governor also addressed the strategies of President Obama and Hillary Clinton and how, according to Bush, they have failed Americans.
"The last seven years under President Obama have taught us that problems do not take care of themselves in the absence of American leadership. America has had enough of empty words," he said.
Bush has not been unwilling to characterize ISIS as "radical Islamic terrorists" and denounced their goal to destroy Western civilization.
"Their aim is our total destruction. We can't withdraw from this threat, nor negotiate with it," he said. "We have but one choice -- to defeat ISIS."
He reiterated his support for reinstating the Patriot Act's metadata program, and also reinforced strategic plans outlaid earlier in his campaign, such as creating a safe zone in Syria, arming the Kurds, and enforcing a no-fly zone.
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