At a town hall meeting in Nevada today likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush attempted once again to refine his answer to a question that has dogged him ever since Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked him recently, “knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion” of Iraq in 2003.
After telling Kelly in the interview, which aired on Monday, that he “would have” and then clarifying to Sean Hannity yesterday that he “interpreted the question wrong” and didn’t know “what that decision would have been,” today he unveiled a fresh explanation.
“If we’re going to get into hypotheticals I think it does a disservice for a lot of people that sacrificed a lot,” Bush said after explaining that as governor of Florida he called the family members of service men and women who lost their lives in the war.
He added: “Going back in time and talking about hypotheticals -- what would have happened, what could have happened -- I think, does a disservice for them. What we ought to be focusing on is what are the lessons learned.”
But several of his potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have been less reticent to engage in hypotheticals this week.
“Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn’t go into Iraq,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told The Hill newspaper.
“I don’t think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD that the country should have gone to war,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in an interview with CNN.
And Ohio Gov. John Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch: “If the question is, if there were not weapons of mass destruction should we have gone, the answer would’ve been no.”
As he travels the country ahead of opening a formal White House bid, Bush has been poked and prodded -- by the press and voters alike -- about how and to what extent his views differ from those of his brother, former President George W. Bush.
“I’m much better looking than my brother, I’m younger than him,” Bush joked today in response to a reporter’s question. “If I run it’ll be 2016 not 2000. The world has changed dramatically. The context of the campaign will be different, the whole country’s different. It’s obvious that my life experience is different.”
And with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton facing growing scrutiny for taking very few questions from reporters since formally announcing her candidacy just over a month ago, Bush did not miss an opportunity to take a swipe today.
“I think everybody else does speak to the press and have town hall meetings where its unscripted and, as you saw, it’s a little rambunctious,” Bush said. “That’s all part of the process. You can’t script your way to the presidency.”
ABC's Erin Dooley contributed reporting.