POLITICS

Jeb Bush Opposes New Gun Laws On Grounds That 'Stuff Happens'

The former governor has been making some pretty big gaffes lately.

WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush’s time on the campaign trail hit another awkward patch on Friday when he said at a rally in South Carolina that there wasn’t much the country should or could do about gun control.

 “Stuff happens,” the former Florida governor said.

 Or, if you'd like, the full quote:

We are in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It is very sad to see. But I resist the notion [because] I had this challenge as governor. Look, stuff happens. There is always a crisis and the impulse is to always do something and it not necessarily the right thing to do.

 Or, if you'd really like, the video:

The remark wasn’t so much a dismissal of the savageness of the shooting that took place Thursday at a community college in Oregon, where 10 people were killed, including the shooter. It was more of a commentary on the idea that government should move quickly in the wake of such a tragedy, which Bush clearly disagrees with.

But coming just one day after the shooting, Bush was harshly ridiculed online for being callous.

Asked at a press conference to react to Bush's statement shortly after he made it, President Barack Obama replied: "I don't even think I have to react to that. The American people should hear that and make their own judgments. ... They can decide whether they consider that 'stuff happens.'"

Bush has been dogged by rhetorical missteps on the trail. He bumbled a question about whether he would have invaded Iraq had he had current intelligence about the war. And he got tripped up on the debate over whether the government should defund Planned Parenthood, saying he didn’t see the need to spend $500 million on women’s health issues. Most recently, he talked about not wanting Republicans to offer voters free stuff in exchange for their votes.

To varying degrees, he has clarified all these comments. But on Friday, he quickly defended the "stuff happens" remark, telling reporters after the event that it “wasn’t a mistake."

“I said what I said,” he said.

"A child drowns in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools," he continued. "Well, it may not change it. Or you have a car accident and the impulse is to pass a law that deals with that unique event, and the cumulative effect of this is in some cases -- you don’t solve the problem by passing the law, and you’re imposing on large numbers of people burdens that make it harder for our economy to grow, make it harder for people to protect liberty, and that is, the whole conversation today was exactly about that." 

To Bush's credit -- though perhaps this isn't the association he desires -- Donald Trump said something similar about the Oregon shooting.   

UPDATE: 6:40 p.m. -- 

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