Bush says NFL's Washington Redskins name not offensive

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Jeb Bush Has No Issues With The Redskins' Name


MIAMI (AP) — Delving into a decades-long controversy, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said the name of the Washington Redskins football team is not offensive to Native Americans.

"It's a sport, for crying out loud. It's a football team. I'm missing something here, I guess," Bush told "The Arena," a new SiriusXM radio show, in a pre-recorded interview that airs Friday. An interview transcript was released Wednesday by SiriusXM.

"I don't think (the team) should change it," said Bush when asked whether the football team should drop the name, which some Native Americans find offensive.

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Change the Mascot, a group that campaigns against the use of the nickname on behalf of Native American tribes and others, said in a statement that "no presidential candidate should be promoting this racial slur against Native Americans."

"The governor somehow believes he speaks for Native Americans and can assert that Native American people do not find this slur offensive. He clearly is missing something," the statement said.

The group suggested Bush did not want to offend one of his biggest donors, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. He contributed $100,000 to the super PAC, Right To Rise, which backs Bush's campaign, according to federal campaign records.

Democrats pounced on Bush, saying his support of the name is "extremely insulting to Native American people."

"The team's name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people, and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature," said Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a statement.

Bush said the same issue arose with the Florida State University nickname, the Seminoles, when he was Florida governor.

"The Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university and (the controversy) subsided," he said, noting politicians should not have "any say" on changing a football team's name.

See photos of the controversy surrounding the Redskins' name:

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Bush says NFL's Washington Redskins name not offensive
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2009 file photo, the Washington Redskins logo is seen on the field before the start of a preseason NFL football game in Landover, Md. The Justice Department says it is intervening in a trademark dispute concerning the team name of the Washington Redskins. A June ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stripped the professional football team of trademark protection, (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
A group protests the Washington Redskins name across from Levi's Stadium before an NFL football game between the Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
A group protests the Washington Redskins name across from Levi's Stadium before an NFL football game between the Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
A group protests the Washington Redskins name across from Levi's Stadium before an NFL football game between the Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Protestors march outside TCF Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Minneapolis. The group was protesting the use of the mascot and name of the Washington Redskins football team. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Protestors march outside TCF Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Minneapolis. The group was protesting the use of the mascot and name of the Washington Redskins football team. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Protestors march outside TCF Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Minneapolis. The group was protesting the use of the mascot and name of the Washington Redskins football team. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Protestors march outside TCF Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Minneapolis. The group was protesting the use of the mascot and name of the Washington Redskins football team. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Protestors march outside TCF Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Minneapolis. The group was protesting the use of the mascot and name of the Washington Redskins football team. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
LANDOVER MD, NOVEMBER 16: Ian Washburn, a thrid-generation Redskins fan and season ticket holder wears his altered football wear. He repalced the Redskins name with the word Washington or the 'DC' for the logo. Shown before the Washington Redskins lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field in Landover MD, November 16, 2014 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 28: Tara Houska, right, joins other Native Americans and supporters to protest the name and logo of the Washington Football team before the game on Sunday, December 28, 2014. Houska is co-founder of the organization notyourmascots.org (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 28: Washington Redskins fans walk past as Native Americans and supporters protest the name and logo of the Washington Football team before the game on Sunday, December 28, 2014. The protesters could not get on to the grounds at FedEx Field so Jericho City of Praise is offered them space. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 28: 'We are people, not your mascot,' shouts Adrianne Plenty Holes as she points to her baby Yamni Plenty Holes, 11 months, while participating in a protest of the name and logo of the Washington Football team before the game on Sunday, December 28, 2014. The protesters could not get on to the grounds at FedEx Field so Jericho City of Praise is offered them space. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 2: People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Opponents of the Redskins name believe it's a slur that mocks Native American culture and they want the team to change it. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS MN, NOVEMBER 2: Native Americans and other citizens taking part in the protest against the Redskins team name, walk outside the stadium that the Washington Redskins will play the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis MN, November 2, 2014 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS MN, NOVEMBER 2: Native Americans taking part in the protest against the Redskins team name, march outside the stadium that the Washington Redskins will play the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis MN, November 2, 2014 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS MN, NOVEMBER 2: Native Americans taking part in the protest against the Redskins team name, carry tribal banners outside the stadium that the Washington Redskins will play the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis MN, November 2, 2014 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 2: People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 2, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Opponents of the Redskins name believe it's a slur that mocks Native American culture and they want the team to change it. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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In recent weeks, Bush has drawn criticism for remarks deemed offensive to blacks and immigrants.

In South Carolina last Thursday, when asked how his campaign would appeal to African Americans, Bush said his message would be one of "hope and aspiration" and not "one of division and 'get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff.'"

On a stop in Iowa Sept. 22, Bush said that multiculturalism is bad for the United States and that immigrants who close themselves off from American culture deny themselves access to economic rewards.

"We should not have a multicultural society," Bush said, before beginning a longer explanation of his views of what comprises culture in the U.S.

"When you create pockets of isolation — and in some places the process of assimilation has been retarded because they've slowed down — it's wrong," he added. "It limits people's aspirations."

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