Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has gone into damage control mode after an uproar over remarks on the Iraq war — but has done little to clear up confusion over his views of the conflict authorized by his brother.

In an interview that aired the day before, Bush had indicated that he would have gone forward with the invasion, even knowing that the intelligence that led to the war was faulty.

But in a radio interview on Tuesday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Bush said he had “interpreted the question wrong.”

“I was talking about, ‘Given what people knew then, would you have done it?'” Bush said. “Knowing what we know now, 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 this and we have to learn from that.”

When Hannity asked him the same yes-or-no question again, however, he balked.

“I don’t know what that decision would have been,” Bush said. “That’s a hypothetical. But the simple fact is that mistakes were made, as they always are in life.”

The remarks provide the latest example of Bush’s continuing struggle to both distance himself from, and embrace, George W. Bush, who remains unpopular more than six years after leaving office. Jeb Bush has repeatedly described himself as his “own man,” but he has also endorsed many of the foreign and domestic policies pursued by his younger brother.

The trouble for Bush this week began in the interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly, who asked: “On the subject of Iraq, very controversial, knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

Bush responded, “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, voted for the Iraq invasion as a U.S. senator but has since said that decision was wrong.

Democrats and some Republicans pounced on Bush’s comment, with many pundits suggesting that his refusal to denounce the most controversial aspect of his brother’s legacy as president represented a significant obstacle to his own presidential ambitions.

Several Republican 2016 contenders, including Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on Tuesday that they believed the original decision to go to war in Iraq had not been the right one.

Radio host Laura Ingraham, a frequent Bush critic, signaled that his comments only added to her concerns about his candidacy.

“You can’t still think that going into Iraq, now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to do,” she said on her radio show. “If you do, there has to be something wrong with you.”


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