Republicans and Democrats have given Jeb Bush a taste of his own foot over comments the presidential candidate made during a live-streamed interview with a local New Hampshire news outlet.

Reporters with The Union Leader were quizzing Bush about his plans to grow the economy and reform the nation’s tax structure when Bush said that, in order to grow the economy, “people need to work longer hours.”

Via ABC News:

He was answering a question about his plans for tax reform and responded:

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. 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.”


ABC US News | World News

The left dialed up their response to “maul”:

The Bush campaign responded, and to the network’s credit, ABC News has offered the full context of Bush’s comments:

In a statement, a Bush aide clarified that he was referring to the underemployed and part-time workers: “Under President Obama, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, and too many Americans are falling behind. Only Washington Democrats could be out-of-touch enough to criticize giving more Americans the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and make ends meet.”

Bush commented on this issue speaking before the Detroit Economic Council back in February.

“For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work. We have seen them cut the definition of a full-time job from 40 to 30 hours, slashing the ability of paycheck earners to make ends meet,” he said. “We have seen them create welfare programs and tax rules that punish people with lost benefits and higher taxes for moving up those first few rungs of the economic ladder.”

Props to Amy Walter with the Cook Political Report, who kept her head and reported on what Bush actually said:

This should serve as a moment of clarity for Republicans, conservatives, those inclined to vote Republican, and anyone who has ever had their words twisted at the behest of a mob.

I’m willing to assume for the sake of a wonky argument over the science of talking points that Jeb Bush isn’t totally screwed when it comes to jobs and the economy. That being said…Jeb Bush may be totally screwed when it comes to jobs and the economy. The name “Bush” is used by both sides of the aisle to personify the dreaded establishment dynasty that candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are working so hard to distinguish themselves from. “Bush” is also associated with wealth, privilege, and the kind of alleged white tone deafness that progressive activists feed off of.

Did Bush say something wrong here? No, he didn’t. When I was unemployed and struggling to earn a living, I would have killed for longer hours at the two soul-sucking jobs I worked to make sure I could pay my rent and feed myself. Hearing a Jeb Bush lay out a plan that would give me the opportunity to work harder on behalf of myself would have resonated with me.

That being said, we’re not dealing with a world of conservatives who have been raised to think for themselves, work hard, and seek out opportunity; we’re dealing with people who are willing to exploit off-the-cuff comments about economic plans in an effort to keep voters convinced that they can’t do it alone, and the fact that they can’t do it alone is Jeb Bush’s fault.

Moment of clarity? Jeb Bush may not be the only one who’s screwed here.