Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Saturday that he believed the Iraq troop surge was successful, even as he said he “misstepped” earlier in the week by saying he would have invaded the country.
“I misstepped for sure. I answered a question that wasn't asked,” Bush said at a town hall-style meeting in Dubuque, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register.
Bush has been facing questions for almost a week about how he would have handled Iraq and, more broadly, how he is influenced by his brother's legacy. In a segment that aired May 11, he told Fox News he would have authorized the 2003 invasion, even knowing what he does now. He later said that he misunderstood the question, then that he “would not have gone into Iraq.”
Asked how he felt about his brother's role in the deaths of American soldiers, Bush said he was “proud of” George W. Bush, according to the newspaper.
“The facts that were there for the president and in a bipartisan way approved...[were] grounded on faulty intelligence,” he said. “And they made mistakes along the way that related to not focusing on security first. My brother acknowledges that. I acknowledge that.”
“My brother did something that I thought was pretty heroic and courageous” by starting a troop surge that “created a significantly more stable Iraq,” he said.
Bush is on his second trip to Iowa in recent months. The state holds the nation's first nominating contest for presidential candidates. Bush took 5 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers in May, down from 10 percent in February.