On FOX News Sunday today, presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio would not give host Chris Wallace a clear and direct answer whether he thought the Iraq War itself was a mistake.
Rubio continued to answer the question in retrospect, based on what lawmakers knew in 2003, but would not say that the War in Iraq itself was a mistake. Rubio said, like George W. Bush, if he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) then he would not have supported the invasion of Iraq.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Senator, isn't that a flip? Six weeks it made sense to invade Iraq in 2003. Now you say it is a mistake.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: Well, you're talking about two different questions. It was not a mistake. The president, based on what -- this is how the real world works. The president, based on the information that was provided.
WALLACE: She was saying based on the information of what we know now.
RUBIO: Well, based on the information of what we know now a lot of things -- based on what we know now I wouldn't have thought that Manny Pacquiao was going to beat [Floyd Mayweather] in that fight.
WALLACE: I know, but you were asked the same question and said two different things.
RUBIO: No, it was not the same question. The question was whether it was a mistake and my answer is, 'no, it wasn't a mistake.' I still say it was not a mistake, because the president was presented with intelligence that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, it was governed by a man who committed atrocities in the path to weapons of mass destruction.
WALLACE: Senator, what she asked you was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake given the facts that the president knew at the time.
WALLACE: No, she didn't say that. She just said, 'was it a mistake?'
RUBIO: Well, that's not the same question. The he question I was asked is what you know now. Well, based on what we know now, I think everyone agrees --
WALLACE: Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It's two different --
WALLACE: I'm asking you --
RUBIO: Yeah, I understand but that's not the same question.
WALLACE: But that's the question I'm asking you. Was it a mistake for the president to go into Iraq?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq --
WALLACE: I'm not asking you that. I'm asking you --
RUBIO: In hindsight. The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there. I wouldn't characterize it -- i don't understand the question you're asking.
WALLACE: I'm asking you, knowing as we do, as we sit here in 2015 --
RUBIO: But that's not the way president's think. A president cannot make a decision on what someone may know in the future.
WALLACE: That's what I'm asking you. Was it a mistake?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he had as president. Today we know -- if the president had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction at the time, you still would have had to deal with Saddam Hussein but the process would have been different. I doubt very seriously that the president would have gotten, for example, Congressional approval to move forward with an invasion had they known they were no weapons for mass destruction. That does not mean he made the wrong decision because at the time he was presented with intelligence saying there were weapons of mass destruction. He wasn't dealing with a Noble Peace Prize winner, he was dealing with Saddam Hussein and he made the right decision based on the information he had at that time.
We have learned subsequently that information was wrong. My answer was, had at the time, it would have been apparent the intelligence was wrong, I don't think George Bush would have moved forward on the invasion and he certainly wouldn't have Congressional authority. But the presidents don't have the benefit of hindsight. You have to make difficult decisions based on the information that's before you at that moment.