Bill Maher and Hardball host Chris Matthews both slammed Jeb Bush on Friday’s Real Time for arguing during the last GOP debate that his brother, George W. Bush, “kept us safe,” seemingly downplaying the 9/11 attacks.
“I remember one day he didn’t,” Maher said.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki — who is campaigning against Jeb Bush — called the criticism unfair, saying George W. Bush had been president for about eight months at the time of the attacks.
“To say that he is somehow culpable for 9/11 is wrong,” Pataki argued. “You know who’s culpable? Radical Islam and al-Qaeda.”
Matthews countered by bringing up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Republicans’ insistence on blaming her for the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
“If we’d had 9/11 with the Democrats as president, they’d be still blaming us like you never forget it,” Matthews said. “They’re still mad about four people dead somewhere in Libya — imagine if the Democrats had 3,000 people killed under our watch. They’d be dead right now.”
At one point, Maher asked Pataki point-blank whether the GOP would refuse to blame the attacks on Al Gore if he had been president when they took place.
“No, I wouldn’t have been saying it,” the former governor told a skeptical Maher. “I would’ve been saying, ‘Blame it on al-Qaeda. There are people who blame it on America.”
Pataki continued to defend George W. Bush’s record, saying that he was there to see Bush bring the country together after the attacks.
“Were you there when he divided the country by going into Iraq?” Matthews shot back.
“With the support of Hillary Clinton,” Pataki countered, adding, “We’re all Americans, and we have a common future. Let’s try to put this nonsense aside, and figure out solutions to the problems facing our country.”
“He just said no more Benghazi, no more email discussions, that’s great. Yay!” Matthews said, pointing toward Pataki.
Watch the debate, as posted online on Friday, below.