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Romney: If known there was no WMD, U.S. wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq

 

Mitt Romney today said if the United States knew that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, it would not have gone to war in the country.

"If we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction, if somehow we had been given that information, why, obviously we would not have gone in," Romney told NBC's Chuck Todd on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" this morning from New Hampshire.

Asked if the U.S. would have gone in at all, Romney contended, "Well, of course not. The president went in based upon intelligence of weapons of mass destruction. Had he known that that was not the case, the U.N. would not have put forward resolutions authorizing this type of action, the president would not have been pursuing that course. But we did not know that. Based upon what we knew at the time, we were very much under the impression, as a nation -- and our president was under the impression -- they had weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was intent on potentially using those weapons, and so, we took action based upon what he knew. But to go back and say knowing what we know now, would we have gone in? Well, knowing what we know now, they did not have mass destruction, there would have been no effort on the part of our president or others to take military action.”

But someone who might disagree with Romney is former President George W. Bush. Bush told FOX's Brit Hume in 2005, for example, that he "absolutely" made the right decision, even though there were no WMD.

BUSH: I said I made the right decision. Knowing what I know today, I would have still made that decision.
HUME: So, if you had had this — if the weapons had been out of the equation because the intelligence did not conclude that he had them, it was still the right call?
BUSH: Absolutely.

Romney agreed in 2008 that it was the "right decision" -- even though it was, of course, well known by then that there was no WMD in Iraq.

"It was the right decision to go into Iraq," Romney said at the January 2008 NBC debate in Florida. "I supported it at the time; I support it now."

Part one of the interview here. Part two here.

Romney reiterates individual mandate is ‘conservative’ idea
Romney also was again asked about his support of an individual mandate as governor of Massachusetts. Romney called it the “conservative” option for him in Massachusetts, one that had its originations at a conservative Washington think tank as an alternative to what then-First Lady Hillary Clinton proposed. It was something Newt Gingrich also supported.

Yet, at a Dec. 3 forum with hosted by Mike Huckabee, Romney said, criticized the Obama-proposed health care plan this way: “Obamacare is about taking over 100% of the people's insurance in this country."

Romney wants Super PACs eliminated; calls for unrestricted funds for campaigns
On Super PACs, Romney said they’re not good and should be eliminated, but refused to criticize the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Instead, he blamed Congress. He also reiterated his opposition to prior efforts by Congress to restrict money in politics. (Back in 2007, he criticized McCain-Feingold: “McCain-Feingold has not worked,” Romney said, per AP. “It's hurt my party, it hurts First Amendment rights. I think it was a bad bill.")

He also essentially called for unlimited funds to go to campaigns.

"I think the Supreme Court's decision was following their interpretation of the campaign-finance laws that were written by Congress,” Romney said. “My own view is that now we've tried a lot of efforts that can restrict what can be given to campaigns. We'd be a lot wiser to say, 'You can give what you like to a campaign. They must report it immediately, and the creation of these independent-expenditure committees, that have to be separate from the candidate, that's just a bad idea. ... I'm not going to criticize the Supreme Court. I'm going to criticize Congress for passing a law that limits what campaigns can receive and opens the door to these Super PACs and to PACs, which have now been around for a while. We're seeing this is where the most damaging allegations arise."

It’s not clear, however, that unlimited money to campaigns would eliminate Super PACs, considering candidates do not want their names attached to the most devastating negative attacks, but they also benefit from them.