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Jeb Bush gets blasted for “stuff happens” remark about Oregon mass shooting

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Jeb Bush received a torrent of criticism Friday afternoon after he said “stuff happens” in reference to calls for legislative action after the mass shooting that took place in Oregon on Thursday.

“I had this challenge as governor because we had — look, stuff happens,” he said at a forum in South Carolina. “There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

He didn’t back down afterwards, changing “stuff” to “things.”

“Things happen all the time,” Bush said. “Things. Is that better?”

The group American Bridge later issued a statement listing Bush’s latest comment with other phrases he’s said on the campaign trail this year that have prompted criticism, such as saying that he would “phase out” Medicare, referring to “Anchor Babies,” and saying at an event in Iowa recently that “We should not have a multicultural society.”

In a speech that she is scheduled to give Friday night, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted Bush’s comment.

“Yesterday, we witnessed yet another incident of gun violence at a community college in Oregon. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, but as the President said last night, that’s not enough,” she is scheduled to say. “380 Americans have been killed in 294 mass shootings in 2015 alone. We need to do something that prevents these mass shootings from happening – in our schools, in our churches, in movie theaters – again and again and again. John Kasich responded to Oregon by boasting about his A rating from the NRA.”

“Then this afternoon, Jeb Bush was asked about the incident. His response? ‘Stuff happens.’ I wish I was making that up, because it’s heartbreaking. Americans are killed and injured, families lose their loved ones, and an individual who wants to be the President of the United States shrugs his shoulders and says ‘stuff happens.’”

At a press conference, President Barack Obama was asked about the Bush response, after the latter part of the Bush quote was read out loud.

“I don’t even think I have to react to that one,” he said.

Obama then launched into a discussion of gun control, and said voters have to make themselves single-issue voters if they want to counter the influence of the National Rifle Association.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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