Only days after publicly hugging his brother, George W. Bush, on the administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Jeb Bush is qualifying his statements after voters and conservative media soured on the move.
Earlier this week, Jeb was interview by Megyn Kelly on Fox News. He was asked if, knowing what we know now, he would have chosen to invade Iraq as his brother did in 2003.
Rather than answer question, Jeb redirected by saying he would have invaded Iraq given the same intelligence information Bush 43’s administration had at the time. It was a clear balancing act which aimed at defending his brother while not appearing to embrace an unpopular war according to Real Clear Politics.
Pressed with the same question in a later interview by Sean Hannity, Jeb sought to deflect the criticism from his previous response. Explaining of the interview with Kelly that he had “interpreted the question wrong,” Jeb detailed he would have made a different decision than his brother in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.
He then punted, “[But] I don’t know what that decision would have been. That’s a hypothetical.”
It was a move that possibly added more gasoline to the fire of criticism by Bush’s opponents both from the left and right. They argue he is merely a warmed over version of the older Bush.
Chris Christie, still among the long list of potential GOP presidential candidates, seized opportunity by answering the question very directly. He said he “wouldn’t go to war” if faced with the information in retrospect. The topic will likely dog Bush further in the upcoming Southern Republican Leadership Conference next week in Oklahoma City.