Published December 20, 2015
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took aim at Hillary Clinton's record as a senator and as secretary of state Tuesday on his first full day as an official candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
"As a senator, I think she passed -- she has her name on three laws in eight years," Bush told Fox News' Sean Hannity prior to a town hall in Derry, N.H. "And as secretary of state, in all honesty, the things she's known for, the reset [with Russia], the pulling back of our commitments, Libya, put aside Benghazi, Libya in general, it turns out it was a complete failure ... I honestly don't know what her successes are."
When asked if he saw a potential Hillary Clinton presidency as a de facto third term for President Barack Obama, Bush said "in many ways I do."
The son of former President George H.W. Bush and the brother of George W. Bush commended Clinton as smart and tough, but also lamented what he described as a cloistered campaign operation with limited opportunities to face questions from the press, calling it "ridiculous."
"She needs to answer questions, just like I'm going to do in about 30 minutes," Bush said, referring to ongoing controversies surrounding the Clinton Foundation and her use of personal e-mail while secretary of state. "She needs to do the exact same thing that candidates running for president do."
Bush had comparatively little to say about his rivals for the GOP nomination, describing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a "good friend," during a word association game with Hannity. Real estate mogul Donald Trump, who announced his candidacy Tuesday, was described by Bush as merely a "rich guy."
Bush was in the early voting state of New Hampshire one day after announcing his candidacy at Miami Dade college in Florida. After months of testing the waters, there were signs that Bush was still getting used to being a candidate. After answering his last question at the town hall, Bush thanked the crowd for coming — but then interrupted his applause because he forgot to ask for something.
"I totally blew it," he said. "This is my first day, so I'm a rookie at this, and running. I want your vote."
New Hampshire, which has a history of backing more moderate Republican candidates, is seen as an important state for Bush. But it has also proven a difficult win for his family. In 2000, his brother, George W. Bush, lost the state to John McCain. His father stumbled when he competed for the first time in 1980 as well, losing to Ronald Reagan.
Still, Jeb Bush told reporters he plans to return often.
"This is my kind of campaigning," he said through an open SUV window before driving off. "I'll be here a lot."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.