Bush parries Fiorina over women's health spending remark

Is Florida better off after Jeb Bush was governor?
Is Florida better off after Jeb Bush was governor?

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    Is Florida better off after Jeb Bush was governor?

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Is Florida better off after Jeb Bush was governor? 01:34

Story highlights

  • Fiorina said Bush's comments about spending and women's health earlier in the week would make for great fodder for Democrats
  • But Bush defended his record as Florida governor

Seabrook, New Hampshire (CNN)Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is again defending his slip about cutting funding for women's health organizations this week, but not from Hillary Clinton, but instead against former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's assertions at Thursday night's Republican debate.

"My record as governor of the state of Florida was we expanded women's health spending through community-based care," Bush said Friday during a campaign stop here at Brown's Lobster Pound. "We didn't spend it through Planned Parenthood -- we defunded Planned Parenthood. But we expanded women's health issues and programs."
Fiorina, who emerged as a surprise star Thursday night for her sharp performance at the "happy hour debate" before the prime-time event, said Bush's comments earlier in the week would make for great fodder for Democrats.
    "I think it's gonna become an ad," Fiorina said after the debate. "I think it's gonna become an ad in a Democrat campaign. Hillary Clinton jumped all over it for a reason -- because she saw an opportunity. And it is foolish to say that women's health isn't a priority. Of course it's a priority. We can talk later about how and where that money is spent. But it is Democrats who want to talk about women's health when they talk about Planned Parenthood."
    Bush slipped earlier in the week at an evangelical forum. Instead of saying that Planned Parenthood should be defunded and that women's health should be supported through alternative organizations -- which has become a standard response for Republican candidates across the spectrum -- Bush said flatly that women's health funding should be cut.
    "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues," Bush said Tuesday. He and his campaign quickly explained that he only wanted to cut funding off for abortions, but the political damage was done.