Jeb Bush, who try as he might just isn’t so great at the business of running for president, was at an event in South Carolina today, where he was asked about school shootings like the massacre in Oregon yesterday. The two-word key phrase at the center of his response: “Stuff happens.”

According to video of the back-and-forth at a Conservative Leadership Project forum at Furman University, Jeb was responding to a query about whether prayer in public schools might help to stop these shootings before they happen. His full response:

It’s a—we’re in a difficult time in our country, and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else. It’s very sad to see, but I resist the notion—and I had this challenge as governor, because we had—look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis, and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.

What he seems to be trying to say is that the federal government shouldn’t respond to the killings with an attempt to enact stricter gun control. These things happen, you know, and—well, shit—I don’t know, you know?

Your thoughts, President Obama?

When a reporter confronted Jeb about the soundbite, he stood by his unfortunate choice of words, except to say that “things” might have been more appropriate than “stuff.”

“Explain to me what I said wrong. Things happen all the time.” Well said.

h/t Bradd Jaffy. Contact the author at