POLITICS
12/22/2011 01:09 am ET Updated Dec 22, 2011

Mitt Romney Flip-Flops On Iraq: GOP Candidate Says 'We Would Not Have Gone In' If We Knew There Were No Weapons Of Mass Destruction (VIDEO)

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Mitt Romney, speaking on Wednesday to NBC News' Chuck Todd, seemed to shift positions on the Iraq War.

As highlighted by New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait, Romney explained to Todd, "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, obviously we would not have gone in."

The former Massachusetts governor then gave a more detailed response:

Todd: "You don't think we would have gone in?"

Romney: "Well of course not. The president went in based upon intelligence that they had 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, our president was under the impression, that they had weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam Hussein was intent on potentially using those weapons, and so he took action based upon what he knew. But to go back and say, well knowing what we know now would we have gone in. Well, knowing what we know now, they did not have weapons of mass destruction, there would have been no effort on the part of our president or others to take military action."

Chait points out that Romney previously took a much different position on the conflict. Per The New York Times, moderator Tim Russert asked Romney during a 2008 presidential debate if the Iraq War was "a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent." Romney answered, "It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now." As Chait explains, Romney's debate answer came at a time when it was already clear that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction.

Romney's latest comments come only a few days after the U.S. marked the end of the nearly nine year conflict. The Republican contender has not been shy in his criticism of President Obama's handling of the troop withdrawal. This past Sunday, BBC News reported that Romney said, "I think we're going to find that this president, by not putting in place a status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi leadership, has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way and we should have left 10-, 20-, 30,000 personnel there to help transition to the Iraqis' own military capabilities."

WATCH ROMNEY'S MSNBC INTERVIEW ABOVE -- IRAQ SECTION BEGINS AT 1:33 (via MSNBC)

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