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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Jeb Bush had the Confederate flag removed from the Florida Capitol grounds in 2001 when he was governor.

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He is now using that as a sticking point to remind voters he approves the removal of the flag from all public places.

The flag has become a flashpoint since a white gunman killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Bush spoke Monday at a plant near Columbia, South Carolina. He says the Confederate battle flag has been a “racist symbol” in “recent, modern times,” though “not perhaps at the beginning.”

He backs South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s proposal to lower the flag from in front of her state’s Capitol.

Bush says he brought up the flag earlier with black pastors and they were “appreciative” of his stance.

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