Its mind boggling to me that the single most obvious question that potential candidate Jeb Bush would be asked caught him completely unaware. First with Megyn Kelly on Fox:
In an interview set to air Monday, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked presumptive presidential candidate Jeb Bush if he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003 “knowing what we know now.”
“I would have,” the Republican answered. “And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that they got.”
OK, maybe he misheard the question; it’s Monday right?
So on Tuesday, Jeb goes on Hannity to clear things up.
“I interpreted the question wrong I guess…Knowing what we know now, you know, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead-up to the war and the lack of focus on security. And my brother’s admitted this, and we have to learn from this.”
Blah blah blah, but as to knowing what we know now?
I don’t know what that decision would have been, that’s a hypothetical”
So mistakes were made, and apparently by that mysterious entity known as the third person, and a refusal to answer.
Now many times it’s fair to say that hypothetical questions shouldn’t be answered, however the Iraq War wasn’t hypothetical, it was real, and an answer to that question is an excellent proxy to all sorts of foreign policy views.
Particularly if your last name is Bush.
On Wednesday, Bush got ambushed by a college student and was able, finally to give a half way decent answer to a question about Iraq, however it’s somewhat damning with faint praise to say he handled a question by a 19 year old idiot. But when he was asked questions by grownups According to the Washington Post, Jeb double downed on Tuesdays mistakes-were-made-hypothetical’s answer:
He was later asked about comments aired by Fox News on Monday that he would have ordered the Iraq invasion even knowing how the war unfolded and that intelligence used to justify the war was faulty. On Tuesday, Bush clarified his comments, saying he had misunderstood the question.
But a man in Reno asked Bush, “You said I think it was yesterday that I don’t want to answer hypotheticals. Don’t you think running for president is hypothetical when you say, if I run for president dot-dot-dot?”
“Rewriting history is hypothetical,” Bush replied.
He said that he had misinterpreted the question from Fox’s Megyn Kelly to mean “Knowing what you knew then, what would you do?”
“And I answered it honestly and I answered it the way I answer it all the time, which is that there were mistakes made, but based on the information we had, it was the right decision,” he said.
“What we ought to be focused on is what are the lessons learned?” he added. “There are two lessons. One is, if you’re going to go to war, make sure that you have the best intelligence possible and the intelligence broke down. That’s clear, clearly one of the mistakes of this. And secondly, if you’re going to do this have a strategy of security and a strategy and have a strategy to get out. And both of those things didn’t work the way they did, although I give my brother credit. Once the mess was created, he solved that mess with the surge and created when he left a much more stable Iraq that now, that was squandered in some ways when President Obama did not keep any small amount of troop level.”
Bush also dismissed “hypothetical” questions about the origins of the Iraq war as a “disservice” to U.S. troops who died or were injured in the war, and to their families.
By Thursday, Jeb was in Arizona and finally seemed to suspect that he might actually be asked about Iraq, and he had better come up with an answer.
If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.
And on Friday:
As I’ve argued here and here, Jeb Bush is mentally unprepared to be President. All he cares about are illegal immigrants and when he’s not talking about that, it’s as if he’s never thought of the issue before, even when the issue is the most predictable question any potential candidate has ever gotten.