Democratic critics of Jeb Bush’s ad-lib Tuesday about cutting women’s health spending were joined by conservatives, who are annoyed that the inartful statement may undermine their efforts to finally score a win against Planned Parenthood.
Despite his swift damage control efforts, Bush’s casual aside Tuesday afternoon that “I’m not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women’s health programs” threw the Democratic attack machine into overdrive.
For Bush, it marked the third time in a month that a carelessly phrased off-the-cuff comment has sparked controversy — causing consternation anew that the party’s best-funded potential nominee has been, in the early months of the primary fight, something of a gaffe machine.
Less than an hour after making the comment about the overfunding of “women’s health issues,” Bush posted a statement on his website saying that he “misspoke” and meant only to question the $500 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
It was a swifter reincarnation of Bush’s other explanations in recent weeks of comments in which he seemed to call for the “phasing out” of Medicare — he said later he wasn’t referring to a specific program, just entitlements in general; and his suggestion that “workers need to work longer hours,” which, he later clarified, was an attempt to discuss underemployment, not an insinuation that American workers are lazy.
Good thing Bush has raised $120 million already.
He's going to need a lot of money to explain in campaign ads the stupid stuff he says on the campaign trail.