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Jeb Bush defends ‘people need to work longer hours’ comment

Henry Ray Abrams/AP

Henry Ray Abrams/AP

During a meeting with the New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial board, Jeb Bush made what some are dubbing his latest “gaffe”: saying that people need to “work longer hours” in order for the economy to recover. 

The comment was immediately mocked by Bush opponents on the left and right:

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see,” Bush said. “Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

The Democratic National Committee blasted the clip to reporters, dubbing it  “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle.”

Later, after a town hall meeting, Bush told reporters his comments had been misunderstood, and he was really talking about having more “opportunities” to work. 

“If we’re going to grow the economy people need to stop being part-time workers, they need to be having access to greater opportunities to work,” he said.

“If anyone is celebrating this anemic recovery then they’re totally out of touch. The simple fact is that people are really struggling. So giving people a chance to work longer hours has got to be part of the answer. If not, you’re going to see people lose hope.”

He also fired back at Hillary Clinton:

Watch a clip of the original comments below:


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