Former Florida governor and expected presidential candidate Jeb Bush sought to end a political controversy Thursday over the Iraq war. Bush said at a town hall event in Tempe, Arizona, that faced with the decision today, he would not have launched the invasion of Iraq carried out by his brother, former President George W. Bush, in 2003.
"Knowing what we know now, I would not have engaged; I would have not gone into Iraq," Bush told the crowd.
Bush’s statement in Arizona was the latest attempt to put a controversy to rest that has dogged the former Florida governor for most of this week. Bush set off a political firestorm Monday when he was asked by anchor Megyn Kelly on Fox News about the Iraq war and the faulty intelligence used to justify it. “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” asked Kelly.
“I would have and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” responded Bush.
Still, Sabato and many other analysts see Bush as a strong contender on the Republican side, along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Republican strategist Ford O’Connell predicts staying power for Bush.
“What we can say is that there will be certain names that are likely to hang around at least until the end, and Jeb Bush is one of them, as well as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.