Washington (CNN) - In her much-anticipated new book, Hillary Clinton distances herself from President Barack Obama, and even from herself. In the process, she seems to come across as both a hawk and a dove.
In "Hard Choices," Clinton appears to try and make sure that a 2002 Senate vote that damaged her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination doesn't come back to bite her again if she decides to run for the White House in 2016.
In her memoir of her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton also appears to try and put a little daylight between herself and the President over the U.S. role in the bloody three-year old civil war in Syria, a global hotspot where Americans appear divided.
"Hard Choices" officially hits bookstores on Tuesday, but CBS News, NBC News, and The Associated Press were able to get their hands on copies of the book.
A vote with consequences
Then-Sen. Clinton of New York in 2002 voted in favor of the Iraq War resolution. Clinton's vote became a key topic in her marathon and historic 2008 battle with then-Sen. Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The issue, more than the economy, dominated the early parts of the campaign, with Obama fiercely criticizing Clinton over the vote. Clinton at first refused to term it a mistake, but later said during the campaign that she would not have voted the same way.
Obama, who was a major opponent of the war, never had to vote on whether to authorize military action against Saddam Hussein, as he was not elected to the Senate until 2004.
While she's distanced herself from her 2002 vote before, her words in "Hard Choices" seem to be her most forceful comments ever regarding that faithful vote.
"I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple," Clinton writes, according to CBS' account of the book.
In 2008, anti-war Democrats were large in number and in passion, and when it came to Clinton, they were unforgiving. The war will only be a footnote in 2016, but regardless, Clinton appears to be tying up loose ends.
"It cost Clinton mightily in 2008 because the war was ongoing, the Democratic Party, and in particular younger Democrats, had soured on the war and she faced candidate Barack Obama, who was not a Senator when the vote was taken, but had spoken against it at an anti-war rally," CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley said. "But time and circumstance have diluted the potency of Iraq as a political issue."
"To me Clinton's comments in her book are more like putting a period on her history than a way to inoculate herself for the future. Sure, now if in some in-depth interview someone says, were you wrong about Iraq, she can toss it off, 'yes, I've already said that.'" added Crowley, anchor of CNN's "State of the Union."
Distancing herself from the President?
On the divisive question of whether the U.S. should arm rebels in Syria's civil war, Clinton writes that the "risks of both action and inaction were high. Both choices would bring unintended consequences. The President's inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels."
According to CBS' story, Clinton adds that "no one likes to lose a debate, including me. But this was the President's call and I respected his deliberations and decision. From the beginning of our partnership, he had promised me that I would always get a fair hearing. And I always did. In this case, my position didn't prevail."
The passage appears to be an attempt by Clinton to put some daylight between herself and her former boss when it comes to Syria.
"The great challenge for Clinton is how do you set yourself apart from the President when you think it's important, but do it in a respectful enough way that you don't alienate the Obama base in the Democratic Party," CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked.
When it comes to Clinton's writings in her memoir on Iraq and Syria, CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein sees a contradiction.
"On the one hand, she is acknowledging the inevitable: that by now the Democratic electorate essentially demands a repudiation of the Iraq War," said Brownstein, the editorial director of National Journal.
"But she clearly balances that with her revelation that she pushed for a stronger intervention in Syria. On Iraq she's moving left, on Syria toward a more hawkish position. It's not easy from this positioning to pin her down as identifying entirely with the left or the right of the party, and I suspect we'll be saying that about the way she approaches a lot of things in 2016."