US & Canada

Jeb Bush: I misspoke about women's health funding

Jeb Bush Image copyright AP

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was forced to backtrack after saying funding for female health was too high.

The former Florida governor told a conservative Christian audience: "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues."

But he later said he "misspoke", after criticism of his remarks.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton had tweeted to him: "You are absolutely, unequivocally wrong."

Appearing on stage at the Southern Baptist Convention in Tennessee on Tuesday, Mr Bush was asked about healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, to which Republicans have been trying to cut funding.

His response was: "The next president should veto Planned Parenthood'', which drew applause.

It was then that he said "women's issues" did not need so much money as half a billion dollars.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The funding of Planned Parenthood has become a hot political issue

But later, the Bush campaign team clarified his remarks with a statement from him.

"With regards to women's health funding broadly, I misspoke, as there are countless community health centres, rural clinics and other women's health organisations that need to be fully funded," it said.

It added that he was referring to the "hard-to-fathom" $500m government funding for Planned Parenthood.

The organisation at the centre of the row issued a statement saying Mr Bush "told the rest of America what Florida women have known for years, which is that he doesn't believe women's health is worth much".

2016 runners and riders

Image copyright AFP/AP
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton
  • The early Republican frontrunner is Donald Trump
  • Hillary Clinton will have learnt much from her failed campaign of 2008
  • Florida senator Marco Rubio lost some right-wing fans by backing a bipartisan immigration reform package
  • Wisconsin governor Scott Walker appeals to both the Republican establishment and the Tea Party
  • Libertarian Rand Paul has his supporters - and enemies - among Republicans
  • Veteran congressman Bernie Sanders is running as a Democrat despite never formally being part of the party

Meet all of the 2016 hopefuls