Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) broke her media silence on Wednesday and told reporters that her support for the Iraq invasion was a “mistake, plain and simple.”
At a campaign event with small business owners in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Tuesday, the presidential candidate was asked if the world was better without Saddam Hussein in power.
“Look, I know that there are a lot of question about Iraq posed to candidates over the last weeks,” she said, referencing the questions about the invasion that have notably dogged former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a potential Clinton rival in 2016.
“I’ve been very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple and I have written about it in my book, talked about it in the past,” she continued, according to MSNBC video of her response.
Clinton’s Tuesday statement comes as many Republican presidential hopefuls have offered ambiguous or even conflicting judgments on former President George W. Bush’s decision to invade the country. Clinton, who voted to authorise the 2003 invasion as a New York senator, previously said it was a mistake in her book.
Jeb Bush, the former president’s brother, initially said “I would have” invaded Iraq, adding “so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody,” in a Fox News interview on May 11. But he later changed his answer to “I would not have gone into Iraq,” on May 14.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), another presidential candidate, has similarly struggled to provide a clear answer on the subject of the Iraq war invasion. He said in March on Fox News that the invasion wasn’t a mistake, only to shift his stance on May 13 when he said he would not have been in favour of the invasion.
Then a few days later on May 17, Rubio said during a “Fox News Sunday” interview that there were two questions at play: the invasion in the context of the information available in 2003 and the invasion judged retrospectively.
Other declared and likely contenders in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have stated that they would not have invaded Iraq, given the currently available information that the invasion was based on faulty intelligence.
Clinton weighed in on the Iraq question after a 28-day break from answering questions from the press.
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