Former Florida governor Jeb Bush hit the Obama administration Saturday night for not doing enough to prevent North Korea from developing a nuclear warhead and said that a preemptive strike against the hostile state would be necessary to keep the United States safe.
"This relates to the strategic patience of the Obama administration. They come up with these great marketing terms and what they do is they pull back and voids are filled and now filled by asymmetric threats of terror as well as nation states on the run. The next president of the United States is going to have to get the United States back in the game, and if a preemptive strike is necessary to keep us safe, then we should do it," Bush said.
Prior to the debate, the AP reported that North Korea had launched a long-range rocket. North Korea calls the launch part of its peaceful space program but critics are calling it cover for a banned test of technology for a missile that could eventually reach the U.S. mainland.
Debate host Martha Raddatz had asked the candidates how they would have responded if they were commander in chief to the rocket launch.
Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. tracked the rocket launched from North Korea's west coast and no damage was reported. The launch comes a month after North Korea claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb, but the country's claims have been widely disputed.