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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 14th, 2013
07:07 PM ET

Analysis: Jeb Bush fertile comment gets 'a pass'

Speaking to a group of religious conservatives this morning, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush made a comment about immigrants that left the crowd a little squeamish.

"Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population," Bush said.

"I'm going to give Jeb Bush a pass here," said CNN contributor and democratic strategist Maria Cardona. "If you look at Webster's dictionary, the third definition of fertility is birth rate of a population, and that is what he meant."

There are indeed 87.8 births per 1,000 women among immigrant mothers, compared to 58.9 births per 1,000 women among U.S.-born mothers, according to 2011 data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"He was talking about the benefits of what immigrants have done and what they will continue to do for the economic vitality of this country, he just should not have used those words," said Cardona.

Bush "is right on the basic underlying economic point: More babies, more people are good," said Terry Jeffrey, columnist & editor-in-chief of CNS News.

All good points, but the fact remains that Jeb Bush has had a clumsy roll out, said Manu Raju, senior congressional reporter for Politico.

"What this does, it may raise questions on whether or not he's ready for the prime time, and whether or not he will ... make comments that will prove to be game-changing gaffes should he decide to run in 2016," said Raju.

Check out CNN "The Lead's" politics panel's full discussion in the video above, including the controversy of Chris Christie speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.

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