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Jeb Bush apologises for French weekly work hours jibe

media Republican candidacy hopeful Jeb Bush said his remark had done a great disservice to France. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

US Republican Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has apologised for insulting the French people after making a barbed reference to their weekly working hours.

During a debate between Republican candidates for the Presidential ticket, the former Florida governor, attempting to make an issue of rival Marco Rubio's poor Senate attendance record, accused the Florida Senator of only showing up for “a French work week.”

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday on the campaign trail in the state of New Hampshire, Bush said he had made a mistake by saying that Congress operates on a French work week.

"I really did a disservice to the French. I now know that the average French work week is actually greater than the German work week," he was quoted as saying.

"So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country – our first ally – that helped us become free as a nation! And I apologise. That did a huge disservice to France,” he said.

Dismissing Bush’s jibe, the French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, had tweeted: "In any country, electoral campaigns offer the opportunity for a lot of bombastic nonsense. Let's be indulgent."

He added: “A French work week of three days? No but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it.”

According to the RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls, Bush, who is the brother of former president George W. Bush and the son of former president George H.W. Bush, stands fourth with 7 per cent rating behind Donald Trump (26.8 per cent), Ben Carson (22 per cent) and Rubio (9 per cent).

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