Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush saw some blowback earlier this week, from conservatives and liberals alike, over comments he made about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However, the potential 2016 candidate clarified on Tuesday that he misheard the question he was trying to answer about Iraq.
"I interpreted the question wrong, I guess," Bush told conservative radio host Sean Hannity.
Bush was referring to the question posed by Fox News' Megyn Kelly in an interview with Bush that aired Monday night: "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?"
Bush told Kelly, "I would," but then went on to say, "So would Hillary Clinton, by the way."
As CBS News' John Dickerson pointed out, "That's not quite right. Clinton would not. She has said that given what transpired after giving President Bush the power to go to war, she would not give him the authority again to wage it. She's said her vote was wrong."
Bush clarified to Hannity, "I was talking about given what people had known then [in 2003], would you have done it, rather than knowing what we know now."
Bush acknowledged that "mistakes were made" over the course of the war. However, he laid the blame on both the initial invasion and the way President Obama handled the war when he took office.
"Clearly, there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead up to the war and the lack of focus on security. My brother's admitted that, and we have to learn from that," he said. "But the simple fact is, under, in the last few years of my brother's presidency, the surge was quite effective to bring security and stability to Iraq, which was missing during the early days of the United States' engagement there. And that security has been totally obliterated by the president's pulling out too early, and now these voids are filled by this barbaric, asymmetric threat that endangers the entire region and the entire world."
The "lessons learned," Bush continued, are that "the United States needs to be engaged, we need to have the best intelligence in the world, we need to make sure that our friends know we have their back, and the best way to lessen the chance of having American boots on the ground is to have a foreign policy that is strong and secure and consistent."
As Dickerson noted, polls have shown that few Americans think the Iraq War was worth the cost. Before Bush clarified his remarks, conservatives like Laura Ingraham scolded him for suggesting the war was worth it.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another potential 2016 candidate, weighed in on the matter Tuesday, before Bush's clarification.
"I don't think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no (weapons of mass destruction), that the country should have gone to war," Christie said on CNN, adding, "We've got to avoid continuing to go backwards."