A massive unforced error committed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush Tuesday has not only allowed Hillary Clinton and her media (especially CNN) to go on the offense over the Planned Parenthood issue, it has created a video clip that will haunt Bush and the GOP for as long as Bush is in the presidential race.
During a relaxed forum where Bush was under no pressure and had plenty of time to expand on anything he wanted to discuss, he said, “I’m not sure we need a half-billion dollars for women’s health issues.” Full quote below.
“You could take dollar for dollar — although I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues — but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine community health organizations that exist to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues,” Bush said.
Bush immediately tried to clean up the mess, releasing a statement admitting he misspoke and was talking specifically about defunding Planned Parenthood.
“I would like to ask him, ‘Gov. Bush try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to to get screening in time. Was her health not worth the money?” she said. “Tell it to the teenager who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she had access to contraception. Tell it to everyone who was protected by an HIV test.”
Clinton then lit into Bush on Twitter.
.@HillaryClinton what’s absolutely, unequivocally wrong is giving taxpayer $ to an org whose practices show no regard for lives of unborn
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 4, 2015
America then had a Todd Akin flashback where statements made by a Republican that fit perfectly into the Democrat/Media’s phony War On Women narrative led the 8 a.m. CNN news hour, you know, on the same day we learned Clinton’s email server is under investigation by the F.B.I.
This isn’t Bush’s first mistake either, he JerryLewis-ed all over a simple question about the Iraq War, or The Question He Should Have Been Most Ready To Answer Above All Others.
If we are always cleaning up a mess in aisle four, always on defense, always explaining instead of attacking, we look weak and feckless. That is the real issue, not the misstatement.
Alternately, by seizing on the comment, even unfairly, Clinton looks tough and competent. Whatever the self-destruct mechanism was that misfired in Jeb’s brain, it gave Clinton a low and easy one right over the plate.
No one questions what Bush really meant. That’s not the point. The point is competence. The point is that the supposed grown-ups among the Republican Establishment and the arrogant Consultant Class promised us that they will not make the kinds of mistakes that tell voters the Republican Party is not ready for primetime.
The only good news here is that if Bush is going to self-destruct, it is better that we know that now.
Winners attack. Losers explain. Just ask President Kerry, President McCain, and President Romney.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC