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On his 4th try, Jeb Bush clarifies he would not have gone to war in Iraq

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Today in Arizona, Jeb Bush attempted to set the record straight once and for all about what he would have done, in retrospect, if he were president in 2003 in regards to invading Iraq.

“Knowing what we now know, I would not have engaged,” Bush said at a campaign stop in Tempe. “I would not have gone into Iraq.”

The probable GOP presidential candidate has had a brutal week, being attacked on both the left and the right for his initial response to the straightforward question posed by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly for an interview that was taped on Saturday and broadcast to the nation on Monday night.

“Knowing what we know, would you have authorized the invasion?” — Bush told Kelly, “I would have and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

On Tuesday on Sean Hannity’s syndicated national radio program, Bush said, “I interpreted the question wrong, I guess, adding that, “I was talking about, given what people knew then, would you have done it, rather than knowing what we know now.”

On Wednesday in Reno, Bush said anyone in hindsight “would have made different decisions,” he said. “There is no denying that. But to delve into that and not focus on the future, I think is where I need to draw the line.”

He also inadvertently said he was actually running for president, before taking it back.

But he now hopefully for his fledgling campaign has ended the week by clarifying his response today in Tempe.

His critics aren’t giving him any pass, however.

“After four days and four different answers from Jeb Bush on the Iraq War, no one’s buying Jeb’s Iraq War “shifts,” wrote Preston Maddock in an email with the Democratic Super PAC American Bridge.  “It’s like he’s not related to the president who made that decision…or hasn’t heard about its disastrous consequences… or hasn’t been thinking about running for president for years. His team wants you to think he’s unprepared, but he’s not: Jeb is unprincipled and no one is buying his Iraq war “shifts.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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