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Jeb Bush’s Rivals Weigh in On Iraq Question

When Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked to clarify if – with 20/20 hindsight – he still would have supported the Iraq war, he said he couldn't answer the question.

“I don’t know what that decision would have been," Bush told conservative Sean Hannity on his radio program Tuesday.

“Talking about the future is more than fair," he added while speaking in Nevada on Wednesday. “Talking about the past – and saying how would you have done something after the fact is a little tougher.”

But a growing number of fellow Republican White House contenders have no qualms about voicing what their decision on the Iraq war would be – a clear no.

  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: "I don't think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no (weapons of mass destruction), that the country should have gone to war," he told CNN.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz: “Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn’t go into Iraq," he said.
  • Sen. Rand Paul, who has consistently opposed the Iraq war: It's "a real problem if [Bush] can't articulate what he would have done differently," he said to the Associated Press.
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich: “There’s a lot of people who lost limbs and lives over there, OK?” he told the Columbus Dispatch. “But if the question is, if there were not weapons of mass destruction should we have gone, the answer would’ve been no.”
  • Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson: The Iraq war was "not necessary and I told President Bush that," he recently told CNBC's John Harwood.

Notably, two top-tier Republican presidential candidates – Marco Rubio (who on Wednesday addresses the Council on Foreign Relations) and Scott Walker (who has been on an overseas trip to Israel) – haven't commented on the Iraq war since Jeb Bush's initial remarks on it.

But that other Republicans are now voicing opposition to the war reflects how the party has begun to change on the subject, especially as another Bush is likely running for the White House in 2016.

Indeed, an Oct. 2014 NBC/WSJ poll found 66 percent of American voters – including nearly half of Republicans – saying that the Iraq war wasn't worth it.