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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, left, speaks at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson moderated the event.
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NASHVILLE — With two Republican presidential candidates in Tennessee, state Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini is working overtime.

On Friday, Mancini denounced GOP hopeful Ben Carson, who plans to be in Chattanooga and Knoxville today, as the "worst of the worst" among the GOP presidential field.

Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who's doing well in the polls, will be plugging his book and presumably his campaign. Mancini charged Carson's "divisive rhetoric offends the very fabric of American culture and his lack of support of common sense policies will harm the American people."

Then she focused on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was in Knoxville on Friday and Saturday, charging Bush would be "terrible for hardworking Tennesseans" because of a "history of failure" as governor that is "legendary."

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Chairwoman of the Tennessee Democratic Party Mary Mancini

"It comes as no surprise that he believes the answer to a family being left behind by a failing economy is that they work longer hours and that he would rather see seniors struggle in retirement than work to preserve what he call their 'entitlement' — Social Security," Mancini said in her statement. "Even more frightening is his dismissal of the school shooting in Oregon with a cavalier 'stuff happens.'"

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes fired back, defending both Carson and Bush and then mocking Hillary Clinton and her Democratic primary troubles with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont democratic socialist.

Carson, Haynes said, "embodies the uniquely American story of upward mobility and self-reliance that should be celebrated regardless of one's political affiliation.

Democrats are wildly lashing out in an attempt to hide the fact that their chosen frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, is so untrustworthy and dishonest she's being passed in the polls by an avowed socialist."

Haynes said the GOP candidates "represent a wide array of experience from the fields of medicine, business and public service" and then went on to taunt Tennessee Democrats.

"It's telling that we're welcoming two of them [GOP candidates] to Tennessee this weekend while Democratic candidates continue to stay far away from Tennessee and its overwhelmingly Republican electorate," Haynes added.

And as for state Democrats' claims of Bush being "terrible," state GOP Executive Director Brent Leatherwood retorted with a slam against Clinton, a former U.S. Secretary of State.

"You know what's terrible for hardworking Americans? A secretary of state who puts our national security at risk by placing classified material on a secret server that can be hacked by Russia, China, or other foreign agents," he said.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at 615-255-0550 or asher@timesfreepress.com.

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