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Jeb On Why He Thought He Got NRA Award That Didn't Exist: "Just Read It"

"I don't know, I thought... just read it," he said when asked about an NRA award he's often talked about but did not receive. "I got it wrong as it related to Heston giving me the gun, but he — I met him there. They showed me the gun when he was there."

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Asked on Tuesday why he repeatedly claimed to have been the NRA's "statesman of the year" in 2003 — an award that does not exist — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he didn't know, saying he read it.

"I don't know, I thought... just read it," the former Florida governor said during a press gaggle on Tuesday in New Hampshire. ("Read" in the past tense.)

"I was keynote speaker at the annual conference where I was rated A-plus," Bush added before describing more of his pro-gun record.

The former Florida governor has told the of being the story on several occasions of receiving a rifle from then-NRA president Charlton Heston and being the winner of the group's "statesman of the year" honor in 2003.

BuzzFeed News reported that not only did Heston not give Bush the rifle, though he met him at the 2003 NRA conference held in Orlando, Florida but the "statesman of the year" award does not exist.

Bush, then, transitioning back to question at hand, also noted he got wrong getting the flintlock rifle from Heston but maintained his strong record on gun rights.

"I got it wrong as it related to Heston giving me the gun, but he — I met him there. They showed me the gun when he was there," Bush added before again, he noting his strong record on gun rights.

"If that offends your sensibilities or anybody's, I apologize for getting that wrong but I think the intent was pretty clear," he concluded.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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