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GOP Kingmaker Romney Flip-Flops on His Iraq War Support

June 15, 2015

At this fourth annual E2 Summit this week, defeated 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney once again played host to the GOP's White House hopefuls and their sugar daddies. As before, Romney's twin objectives were to play kingmaker and to remind the assembled Republican faithful that he's still available to be king. But in addressing the crowd (accompanied as always by his constant companion, the Powerpoint presentation), Mitt Romney also reminded voters why they rejected him twice already. In yet another gymnastic flip-flop, Mitt version 2016 called the Iraq war a "mistake," the same conflict about which Mitt v.2008 declared, "I supported it at the time; I support it now."
At this Utah resort conclave, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa reported for the Washington Post, Romney delivered a "brutal PowerPoint critique of Obama's foreign policy." Updating his 2008 strategy presentation which announced "Hillary=France," Romney mocked the 2016 Democratic front-runner as "Secretary of Schlep." But that's not all:

Romney's blame was not directed solely at Obama. He called former president George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq "a mistake."
"I certainly supported it at the time, but today, given what we know, it was a mistake," Romney said.

Sadly for the gold-plated contortionist, that's not what Governor Romney told voters during his failed first run for the GOP nomination, as this January 2008 exchange with GOP debate moderator Tim Russert shows:

MR. RUSSERT: Governor Romney, was the war in Iraq a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent?
MR. ROMNEY: It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.

That's right. Almost four years after Iraq Survey Group weapons inspector Charles Duelfer told Congress that those claiming Saddam had WMD were "almost all wrong," Mitt Romney didn't want to be right.
Until, that is, he ran for President again. Though nothing about the WMD fiasco had changed in the intervening years, in December 2011 Mitt Romney answer to Russert's Iraq question did. As the Boston Globe reported:

[Fox News host Chris] Wallace asked Romney whether, in hindsight, the United States should have invaded Iraq. Romney did not directly answer the question. "At the time, we didn't have the knowledge that we have now," Romney said. "The intelligence in our nation and other nations was that this tyrant had weapons of mass destruction. And in the light of that belief, we took action which was appropriate at the time."
Following up yesterday on MSNBC, Todd asked Romney if he believes the war would have gone differently had the United States known there were no weapons of mass destruction.
Romney responded, "If we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction...obviously, we would not have gone in."

It wasn't so obvious to George W. Bush, who to this day believes the invasion of Iraq was "the right decision." As for Mitt Romney, it wasn't obvious to him, either, or at least no until the 2012 election. Of course, his position on any issue changes when observed. And that "Romney Uncertainty Principle" is just one of the reasons why Mitt will never be President.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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