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PolitiFact Florida Checks Out Iraq Remarks by Jeb, Marco


The Iraq war is back in the news in a big way, after Jeb Bush stumbled on the question of "knowing what you know know, would you have invaded Iraq." We'll get to Jeb in a bit, but his potential adversary for the Republican nomination for president is also getting some grief on the topic. Marco Rubio was questioned repeatedly by Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace in a recent interivew, asking him if he’d changed positions on Iraq.

After rolling film of previous interviews with Rubio, Wallace asked Rubio, "Senator, isn't that a flip? Six weeks ago, it made sense to invade Iraq in 2003. Now, you say it was a mistake."


To talk about presidential wannabees flip-flopping, let's hear from PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillen. Here's their ruling:

In earlier interviews, Rubio said that the United States is safer having gone to war and that it wasn’t a mistake -- but in those interviews he wasn’t directly asked the question about whether he would have favored the invasion, had we known in 2003 that we had faulty intelligence. Rubio was asked May 13 if he would have been in favor of the Iraq War if it was known at the time that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Rubio said, "Not only would I not have been in favor of it. President Bush would not have been in favor of it." As for what he would have favored if it had been known that there were no weapons, Rubio said on May 17 that it was unlikely that Congress would have given approval for Bush to move forward. All these statements seem a little different, and add up to a partial change of position. We rate Rubio’s statements on Iraq as a Half Flip.

In the other half of our presidential doubleheader, former governor Jeb Bush has had his mettle tested on the Middle East.

In a meeting in Reno, Bush was asked by a University of Nevada student why he was shifting the blame for problems in Iraq to President Obama.

Bush told the student, "We had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops - less than we have in Korea -  that could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress."


Here's their ruling:

Bush said, "We had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, that could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress." Obama inherited a timeline to exit Iraq from George W. Bush and followed it, but there was no agreement to leave a large force behind. The Obama White House considered 10,000 troops for a short time but ruled it out, suggesting a much smaller force. Negotiations with Iraq broke down, however, and there was no agreement that met conditions Washington wanted. Experts told us Bush parsed his words carefully enough to have a point that a residual force would have likely helped Iraq fend off ISIS. But there was no consensus to leave 10,000 troops in place. We rate the statement Mostly False.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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