Should Hillary Clinton weigh in on Syria?
September 3rd, 2013
11:57 AM ET
12 months ago

Should Hillary Clinton weigh in on Syria?

(CNN) – As major developments unfold in Syria, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke her recent silence on Twitter to...congratulate Diana Nyad.

"Flying to 112 countries is a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks – but you actually did it! Congrats!" Clinton posted on Twitter Monday evening, referring to Nyad's record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage.

But Republicans were quick to pounce on the possible 2016 presidential candidate. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer argued Clinton should be speaking out about the crisis in Syria, where Obama administration officials say chemical weapons were used last month.

"On Syria, what does Hillary say? Walker, Christie, Cuomo, O'Malley too. Would-be leaders should take a stand," he wrote Tuesday on Twitter, but then added a specific slam against Clinton. "At least Governors can say they're focused on other issues/don't have all the facts. Hillary has no right to remain silent."

The group that's behind "Stop Hillary 2016"–a campaign to tarnish Clinton's reputation as she considers a presidential bid–pushed out an email Monday night with a BuzzFeed article highlighting the fact that Clinton's first tweet in two weeks was about Nyad's swimming feat, not Syria.

But Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala, who was also a senior political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, said he's not surprised by the criticism.

"Of course, given that it's Hillary, everything she says – or does not say – is going to be criticized. She'd be getting grief if she were weighing in, for Pete's sake," he said. "We can only have one Secretary of State at a time, and I don't think folks should attack her for letting Secretary Kerry lead the department he now runs."

In addition to pushing for diplomatic efforts to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, Clinton backed a proposal last year to provide weapons to Syrian rebels when she served as secretary of state.

Clinton also issued warnings in January shortly before leaving office about Iran's involvement in Syria, saying the country was supplying al-Assad's regime with military supplies. She urged Iran, as well as Russia, to reconsider their aid to war-torn country.

Clinton further defended her role as the nation's top diplomat in the situation.

"I've done what was possible to do," she told reporters.

She could have a chance to publicly comment on Syria this month. Clinton has a speech scheduled next week in Philadelphia, where she has said she'll talk about national security. The annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City also takes place later this month–an event that focuses on global issues.

Should she decide to run for president in 2016, Clinton is well aware that anything she says now can be used for or against her in the next few years.

Clinton was one of 29 Democrats who voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which gave President George W. Bush's administration the go-ahead to eventually send U.S. troops to Iraq.

That vote came back to hurt Clinton years later, as she was battling then-Sen. Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Even now, America Rising, the political action committee behind the Stop Hillary 2016 effort, made a blog post Tuesday highlighting her Iraq War vote.

"In justifying her vote for the Iraq war, Hillary Clinton invoked Saddam's pursuit of chemical and biological weapons," read an email advertising the blog post. "Given intelligence indicating Assad's use of them, would Hillary use the same justification to support action in Syria? To date, she has avoided the topic altogether."

Syria vote could have consequences for 2016


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Syria
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Christian Grey

    I’m on the right side of politics so I will most likely get beat up over what I say but…Hillary did not get the 3:00am call Obama did and he rolled over and went back to sleep. He is a community organizer and not a leader, he would rather apologize for America’s past than lead the world as did the presidents be for him. He would rather bring the rich guy down than give the poor man a chance at upward mobility.
    There was a point where the US could have been very effective in deciding the outcome in Syria but he was still sleeping and the call went unanswered.

    September 3, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. blake

    Why? She has no credibility and no wisdom.

    September 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Name

    NO, NO!!!!! She is not part of the Administration.

    September 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Me

    She's a political pro. Everything she says and doesn't say is tactical. She may have lost herself, but that's what's necessary for the big job. Everything she says or does, or doesn't, is about strategy for 2016. If you think otherwise, you're probably less than 40 years old.

    September 3, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Hillary supports the Dems, in whatever they do, including anything criminal.

    September 3, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Hammerer

    She will not speak. She is still trying to cover the weapons deal that went bad in Benghazi.

    September 3, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Nah... she doesn't want to put herseld on the record one way or another. When the dust settles, she can look at what the result was. If it was a net positive, she can say she would have concurred. If it was net negative, she can say she would have done things differently."

    Meanwhile, the RWNJs/Teatrolls will in turn wait to see what position she takes and then manufacture some way of criticizing it no matter what she says, with the fallback plan being "criticize her for not saying anything sooner."

    September 3, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Mattnyc1980

    So we are not allowed to ask her questions until she formally announces her 2016 campaign? Journalists have the right to ask anyone a question about any topic they want. It's called freedom of the press.

    The reason she is being asked these questions is because she has a history of being a NEOCON and, if she wants to run in 2016, people are interested as to whether she is still a NEOCON.

    September 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. JerryT

    Maybe she should add to the conversation considering her experience with sniper fire in Bosnia.

    September 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. John

    The GOP's position on EVERYTHING is
    ......He/She should have done this
    It is never.
    ...WE should do this this
    Don't know if it is all political, or they just don't want to commit to anything that will LEAD our country

    September 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Christian Grey

    I’m on the right side of politics so I will most likely get beat up over what I say but…Hillary did not get the 3:00am call Obama did and he rolled over and went back to sleep. He is a community organizer and not a leader, he would rather apologize for America’s past than lead the world as did the presidents be for him. He would rather bring the rich guy down than give the poor man a chance at upward mobility.
    There was a point where the US could have been very effective in deciding the outcome in Syria but he was still sleeping and the call went unanswered.
    -------------------
    And your proof for all of this insight into Pres. Obama's thoughts is ...? Right wing media? Why would the US want to decide the outcome of a civil uprising in Syria? Isn't toppling Arab governments and installing puppet regimes one of the reasons Bin Laden cited for the 9/11 attacks?

    September 3, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Me

    I'd love to see someone, anyone, certainly CNN, ask her if there's any connection to Sadam's WMD's and Assad's. Can this story be buried forever? Hillary voted to go after Sadam's WMD's. Wouldn't this vindicate her a bit if some of these fringe reports are true? Or is this what it's all about – she voted with the WMD crowd last time and took heat for it – maybe lost her the primary to Obama. If this strike "blows up", well, she can't make the same mistake twice and expect to get elected. So...mum.

    September 3, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. kitty hogan

    sure, Hillary can weigh in...what is she now? about 225 lbs?

    September 3, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Hillary is not a public official at the moment and does not have to comment!!!!!

    September 3, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. RT Colorado

    Why not, she is after all, the future 2016 President, right?

    September 3, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. general tso

    She did weigh in, and she needs to drop at least 35 lbs.

    September 3, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Howard

    It would be surprising if Hillary hadn't taken note of the fact that Obama would be under a lot less pressure if he HADN'T made his "red line" comment. The first rule in politics is to never say anything if you don't have to say it, because once you've said it, there's no graceful way to take it back.

    Now, Obama has to do something. The trouble is, whatever he does will not make a difference. It will not alter the outcome of this dirty little civil war. In fact, it just might make things worse.

    September 3, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. tom l.

    @Rudy
    "Why would the US want to decide the outcome of a civil uprising in Syria?"

    You mean like Libya and Egypt? That is a great question and one I wish the president would have asked before sticking our collective noses into the business of Libya and Egypt helping to overthrow those govts and create civil wars there, as well.

    September 3, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Gene Hunter

    I hate Hillary Clinton. She is the real power hungry one not Bill Hillary is against GUNS and I dont care for her opinion

    September 3, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. NUCLEARMIND

    The I Ching is right, people do hate that which is great.

    September 3, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. NUCLEARMIND

    The I CHING is right again! People do hate that which is great.

    September 3, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. T.W.A

    If the U.S. strikes Syria this wil be the last war fought ! God be with us!!!!!!

    September 3, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "She will not speak. She is still trying to cover the weapons deal that went bad in Benghazi."

    DiGenova has about as much credibility as you average tinfoil hatted RWNJ/Teatroll shill spouting Breitbart and World Net Daily conspiracy theories as the crutch by which anything and everything Obama or the Dems do is rendered something they can criticize. He's a shill and an activist, nothing more.

    September 3, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. satalink

    I'd rather hear from Lady Gaga... equally worthless but more entertaining.

    September 3, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. truth hurts but reality bites

    Only leaders take positions.... political hacks like Hillary Clinton never take positions and then later take pot shots at those that did. She already failed her 3am phone call test with Benghazi. I doubt she is looking for another opportunity to blow it in the eyes of the nation.

    September 3, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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