U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger speaks with The Pantagraph's editorial board Tuesday at the newspaper's Bloomington offices. The Manteno Republican said he'll officially announce soon that he supports former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as the GOP's next presidential candidate.

BLOOMINGTON — U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is predicting a Bush v. Clinton rematch in 2016.

The Manteno Republican told The Pantagraph's editorial board Tuesday he'll officially announce soon that he supports former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as the GOP's next presidential candidate.

Kinzinger said he supports Bush in part because he continues to present himself as a moderate Republican despite a tendency by presidential candidates to play hard to their party bases before primary elections.

Kinzinger said that strategy could help him among moderate voters in the general election.

He added that concerns about Bush's lineage — he is the son of President George H.W. Bush, whom Bill Clinton defeated in 1992, and brother of President George W. Bush — are overblown.

"People will see pretty quickly he's not his brother," Kinzinger said of Jeb Bush.

Kinzinger said he anticipates Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic presidential nomination but could lose momentum before the election.

Kinzinger added "even if it's Hillary (as president), it will be much better than what we have now, in my view, especially on foreign policy."

Kinzinger said on the Sunday edition of ABC's "This Week" that President Barack Obama has put Congress into an inappropriate position by making members approve ground operations to fight the Islamic State, also know as ISIS.

Kinzinger on Tuesday compared the war on terrorism to the Cold War — "the fight of our generation," he said — but added the United States needs to take an aggressive strategy regardless.

"The short game is, we've got ISIS that exists, and it's spreading like wildfire, and you've got to confront them with brute military force," he said. "Pushing it back is going to be important because it shows that they are not these amazing crusaders against the West. They're weak."

Kinzinger said he supports a federal judge's block, announced Monday, of Obama's executive order deferring the deportation of millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally, though Kinzinger agrees with elements of the policy.

"The judge's ruling (Monday) was probably smart because the president's actions, many of us think, probably supersede his role in the Constitution," Kinzinger said. "It's really just a jurisdictional fight."

Kinzinger forecasts meaningful immigration reform "will happen in 2017" under Obama's successor.

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Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


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