The Note: Jeb Bush Comes Full Circle on Iraq

ByABC News
May 15, 2015, 8:52 AM


--'I WOULD NOT HAVE GONE INTO IRAQ': In the space of just four days, likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has come full circle on whether he would have made the decision invade Iraq in 2003 as his brother, then President George W. Bush, did. "If we're all supposed to answer hypotheticals," Bush said at a town hall meeting in Tempe, Arizona, yesterday. "I would not, have engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq." Bush said he was "reluctant to say what I'm about to say now" because as governor of Florida he contacted families to offer condolences when their children died in Iraq, ABC's CHRIS GOOD notes. "It's very hard for me to say that their lives were lost in vain, and they weren't."

--WATCH: Jeb Bush's evolution on Iraq: 5 answers in 4 days:

--LIKE JEB, MARCO RUBIO HAS EVOLVED ON IRAQ TOO: Iraq is also a question that Florida senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio has had to confront. Asked this week whether he would have supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 had he known the country did not possess weapons of mass destruction, Rubio added his voice to the chorus of Republican presidential hopefuls who have said "no." But Rubio's comments this week appear to differ from his assertions on Fox News' "The Five" when he was asked a somewhat different question in March. ABC's ERIN DOOLEY has the backstory:

--TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's CHRIS GOOD: The main event is tonight -- Mitt Romney fights Evander Holyfield -- for real -- in Salt Lake City at the Rail Event Center hosted by CharityVision. Again, this is an event that will happen. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee's Spring Meeting will continue in Phoenix where Mike Huckabee will speak. Chris Christie headlines a breakfast in Athens, Georgia for the state Republican Party. Jim Webb will be in New Hampshire for several events. And Bill Clinton gives a keynote speech on the first day of the American Institute of Architects convention in Atlanta.

THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell comes to "This Week" Sunday. And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's politics, with ABC News' Matthew Dowd, Jonathan Karl, Ana Navarro, and Cokie Roberts. Check the "This Week" page for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. TUNE IN SUNDAY:


NEW FROM EMILY'S LIST PRESIDENT STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK: 'JEB BUSH REALLY IS HIS OWN MAN -- BUT ONLY WHEN IT COMES TO HIS EXTREME POSITIONS ON CHOICE...' Schriock takes to Medium to talk about what she calls Bush's "bragging about being the most anti-choice candidate 'in modern times,'": "Jeb Bush spent a lot of time this week trying to convince us that he's different than his brother. His amateurish efforts to set himself apart on Iraq are cringeworthy and incoherent. And it's painfully obvious that his campaign won't be getting by without a little help from his big brother's billionaire friends. But for all the bungled attempts to resolve his ever-present identity crisis, Jeb is right about one thing: When it comes to choice, he is 'his own man.'" READ MORE:



BUSH ON DISAGREEING WITH FAMILY: 'I HAVE A HARD TIME WITH THAT'. Jeb Bush seems to have a talking point to explain why he hesitated so long to say, in hindsight, that the Iraq war was a mistake: He won't "go out of [his] way" to disagree with his brother. Bush said those words both at a press gaggle after the town hall where he finally gave his Iraq answer and in a speech to the RNC's spring meeting in Flagstaff last night. He also said he has a hard time disagreeing with his family in public. "There's a lot of people out there [in the room] from the press, and there's a lot of interest in finding the ways that we're different and all this," Bush said. "But I'm not going to go out of my way to say that, you know, my brother did this wrong or my dad did this wrong. It's just not gonna happen. I have a hard time with that. I love my family a lot."

JOHN BOEHNER REJECTS 'STUPID QUESTION' ABOUT AMTRAK CUTS. House Speaker John Boehner erupted into incredulity yesterday when a reporter attempted to ask him about federal spending for Amtrak. When the reporter attempted to ask Boehner about criticism from Democrats that Amtrak was not funded well enough, Boehner, R-Ohio, cut her off. "Are you really going to ask such a stupid question?!" Boehner asked in apparent disbelief. "Listen, you know they started this yesterday. 'It's all about funding. It's all about funding,'" Boehner said, apparently mocking complaints by congressional Democrats, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON writes. "Well, obviously it's not about funding. The train was going twice the speed limit!" Boehner further contended that funding for Amtrak is "adequate" and added that "no money has been cut from rail safety."

NOTED: CHUCK SCHUMER ACCUSES HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER OF DENYING REALITY with his claim that there is no connection between the recent Amtrak derailment and funding for the rail system. "Speaker Boehner's comments are patently false. Experts have made clear that Positive Train Control could have prevented the tragedy in Philadelphia," Schumer said in a statement. "It is simply a fact that insufficient funding for Amtrak has delayed the installation of PTC, and to deny a connection between the accident and underfunding Amtrak is to deny reality."

MEET THE COLLEGE DEMOCRAT WHO TOLD JEB BUSH: 'YOUR BROTHER CREATED ISIS.' Jeb Bush found himself on defense after his town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada, Wednesday after a young voter told him, "Your brother created ISIS." Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old student at University of Nevada who said she was a registered Democrat, approached Bush after the event. Bush, the former Florida governor and likely Republican presidential candidate, unsuccessfully tried to interject. When he reached out, Ziedrich snapped back: "You don't need to be pedantic to me sir. You could just answer my question." Ziedrich said she is a member of the Young Democrats at her university, although in an interview with ABC News Wednesday she said she was not speaking as a representative of the group. She said she did not intend to come across as hostile in her exchange with Bush, which occurred after the town hall meeting had concluded. She added that she respects Bush as a politician, ABC's ALANA ABRAMSON writes.

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S OFFERS CONDOLENCES ON AMTRAK CRASH. President Obama yesterday expressed his condolences for the victims of Tuesday's Amtrak crash in Philadelphia. "I offer my prayers for those who grieve," Obama said. "A speedy recovery for the many who were injured as they work to recover. And we will cooperate, obviously, at every level of government to make sure that we get answers in terms of precisely what happened." According to ABC's ALI WEINBERG and JORDYN PHELPS, he also made a call for maintaining a commitment to spending on infrastructure improvements around the country, given congressional negotiations on transportation funding happening back in Washington.

NOTED: OBAMA TOUTS GULF ALLIANCE DESPITE DIFFERENCES ON IRAN. President Obama stopped short of saying the Persian Gulf nations he hosted at Camp David support negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, but indicated that they understood it was in their own interest. His comments came after a marathon day of meetings with representatives from six Gulf countries that are skeptical of a deal that could make Iran a more powerful regional player, ABC's ALI WEINBERG reports:


HOUSE DEMOCRATS WARN HILLARY CLINTON TO BE 'VERY EXPLICIT' ON TRADE. Senate Democrats blocked a motion this week to proceed with President Obama's proposed trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP). And although they reached an agreement with the president Wednesday afternoon to "fast-track" the trade deal forward, the issue remains a controversial one. But two top House Democrats say another important leader among their party needs to clarify her position on trade for American people: Hillary Clinton. "If we're going to win in 2016 and retain the presidency, Hillary and all the candidates running for it are going to have to be very explicit with the American people -- and certainly with the Democratic base -- about trade, about jobs and about wages," Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz, told "Power Players" in a recent interview with his colleague Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. ABC's RICK KLEIN and ALI DUKAKIS has more.


JOHN BOLTON ISN'T RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT (BUT HE TOTALLY COULD HAVE IF HE WANTED TO). John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, announced today that he would not be seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. But the former aide to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan who has little name recognition or standing in national polls, implied it wasn't for lack of fundraising prowess. Definitely not. John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, announced today that he would not be seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. But the former aide to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan who has little name recognition or standing in national polls, implied it wasn't for lack of fundraising prowess. More from ABC's ALANA ABRAMSON:


@tackettdc: After Hillary Clinton in 2008, it's Jeb Bush's turn to be haunted by Iraq @jmartnyt

@ByronYork: Now, Jeb Bush has struggled with the if-I-knew-then question. Finally answered it. That should be enough.

@edatpost: These answers may be anonymous, but I've heard similar stories from female Hill sources:

@MittRomney: Donate to @CharityVision if you like my chances tomorrow night. #cvfightnight

@brianbeutler: Prediction: Holyfield beats Romney using lucrative gifts to juice turnout in Cuyahoga county, according to Romney.