Hillary Clinton defends Obama against conservative barbs
July 27th, 2014
02:09 PM ET
2 months ago

Hillary Clinton defends Obama against conservative barbs

Washington (CNN) – If you wanted a friend to defend your reputation against serious sideswipes, who better to do it than one of the most recognizable women in the world, with years of experience beating back barbs?

Enter Hillary Clinton in defense of President Barack Obama.  As conservatives throw arrows aimed at the President's handling of multiple world crises, Clinton defended her former adversary-turned-boss-turned-friend.

The former secretary of state – and prospective presidential candidate - sat down with CNN's Fareed Zakaria for a wide-ranging interview taped Friday and aired Sunday on "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS."

Some conservatives accuse Obama of not being tough enough on Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Is the President appropriately handling the Ukranian crisis, Clinton was asked?

"I think that he is facing some of the same challenges that American presidents face when dealing with threats within Europe," Clinton said.  "The United States, obviously, has a great interest in helping to maintain peace and security in Europe and we have a formal alliance, NATO, to do so. But much of what we can do and what the President is calling for requires the full participation of our European friends and allies."

Clinton continued: claiming Putin "bears responsibility" for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, calling for more sanctions, urging Europe to "stand up to" Putin despite its reliance on energy from Russia, and stressing the need for Europe and the United States to assist Ukraine.

And she wasn't done offering supportive words for the President.

Later in the hourlong interview, Clinton was asked about one specific criticism.

"Charles Krauthammer, the conservative critic, has said, 'The world is going to hell and President Obama is playing golf,'” Zakaria said.  "Is he playing too much golf while all these crises are popping up?"

Clinton was unequivocal.

"No," she said. "I think that's an unfair comment to make."

"I know from my own experience with the President, where we worked so closely together, and as I write in the book, you know, went from being adversaries to partners to friends, that he is constantly working and thinking. But he also wants to do what will make a difference, not just perform. He wants to be sure that we know what the consequences, both intended and unintended, are.

“When it comes to the Middle East, this is always a very difficult issue for any American president," she said.

"I think the President is doing what he can do to try to get a cease-fire and then see whether we can sort out some, you know, longer-term resolution."

Watch Fareed Zakaria GPS Sundays at 10am and 1pm ET. For the latest from Fareed Zakaria GPS click here.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. king

    Ahh the repubs spins are getting easier to antangle everyday. They act like they will work with this president and it's somehow his fault things aren't getting done. Do they think the rest of the American people are asleep like their backward followers. The people seen for the past 6 years how the repub move the goal post every single time

    July 27, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Chipster

    @ rla Get a dictionary, please, and look up socialism. There is nothing socialistic about any of Obama's policies. Here's a hint: social programs like public schools, health programs, social security are NOT Socialism.

    July 27, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. Chipster

    @Afraid Zakaria What Clinton means when she says Putin bears responsibility is that Putin has armed and encouraged the Ukraine separatists. Putin is responsible for taking Crimea. Did you actually believe the nonsense about the "rebels" in Crimea not being Russian military? They had Russian equipment, including tanks and spoke Russian! Frankly, I think he has a "little man" complex. He's only 5' 7" tall and is always trying to impress everyone with how tough he is. Seriously? Shirtless, riding a horse? Always trying to prove he's macho? It's a classic case of "little man."

    July 27, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. Chipster

    "Well, when you add in all the campaign fund raising (60% of his time), vacations, campaign events, celebrity events, TV late night appearances with the golfing, then that would have probably been a different answer."
    Donna, did you take a look at how many vacation days, golf outings, fishing trips, and brush clearing days that former President Bush took? And YES, even fundraisers! He was away from the White House far more often than President Obama has been. But that means nothing in either case. Presidents NEVER get away from the job, especially with all the technology we have today. They need a break and I don't begrudge any of them the opportunity to relax because I'm sure it's seldom that they are uninterrupted for long. President Bush #41 was on a fishing boat while our troops were pushing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait! Do you seriously think he wasn't in touch with events that day? Give the political garbage a rest.

    July 27, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. Paul

    President Hillary 2016! CANT WAIT

    July 27, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. don in albuquerque

    Chris-E
    In the words of an old movie line, "The truth? You couldn't handle the truth."

    July 27, 2014 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. Paul

    WOW, Afraid, I didnt know this country was bankrupt! If we were , our credit ratings would be lowered and the dollar would lose all its value against other currencies, last time I checked the dollar was still strong. where do you get your info?

    July 27, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Patriot

    Hillary will make a splendid president. She will be much better than Obama.

    July 27, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Chipster

    @ Chris..E.al
    "56 % disapprove of 0bamas handiwork around the world ?"

    Then, I'd say that he must be doing something right!

    July 27, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Janet Nappylotto

    Like Hillary's enforcement carries any water:
    – the "Hard Choices" book tour was a disaster
    – Democrats avoid both Obama and Hillary
    – Democrats and the media are courting Warren as a Hillary alternative.

    People are seeing the light: Obama is an ineffective lame duck and Hillary is a pipe dream past her prime.

    July 27, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    It is not Obama the root of problems, it was Bush, Reagan. They drained this nation treasury with two wars, trickle down, Iran arms sale. Today Middle East destabilized because of BushW. Hillary, use Pres. Obama–he has lot of clout just like Bill. It was a grave mistake Al Gore did not use, Bill. Don't do the same mistake. Yes, pres. Obama the best president. History tells this to the world. God bless!!!

    July 27, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  12. S. B. Stein

    Every president has taken vacations during times of concern and upheaval. Why is this any different? George W. Bush hid out on his ranch much more often than Obama has taken vacations it seems to me. Can CNN verify those dates?

    July 27, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. sonnie3

    What hillary says don't hold water. She has spewed to many untruths and her baggage she carries leaves her with very little credibility.

    July 27, 2014 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. Namelinda

    The republicas would rather for the American people to enter into a third war that we cannot win wasting billions of dollars and the lives of US servicemen. They are responsible for cutting the military budget in the first place. The Conservatives should also stop talking about impeaching President Obama because he hasn't done anything wrong under the law to deserve such. Sara Palin is one of the dumbest women on earth. Do not think for one minute that Blacks in America are not keeping an eye on this explosive ball game in American politics. Our voices have yet to be heard.

    July 28, 2014 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  15. Marie MD

    I rather have a president who tries to win conflicts with diplomacy and sanctions than a shoot from the hip village idiot and his heartless vp who have not only sent thousands to needless deaths (not counting all those horribly maimed) but have destabilized the Middle East for years to come.

    July 28, 2014 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  16. Gurgyl

    -socialist policy? What about unemployment benefit, Medicare, SS, food coupons, Medicaid????? How about Tax shelters to non-profit organizations? Aren't these socialist policies? Campaign funding–Sheldon Adelson funded billions to Mittens, Koches funded billions to Mittens? You talk of campaign funding? I am, glad, glad, glad, republican lost like a crazy dog. No more explanation.

    July 28, 2014 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    -@Afraid Zakaria–it is the basic, fundamental reason that this nation is tired of yesterday's republican clamor for war. This nation no longer affords war. Hillary is NOT for war. Under Bill–no wars occurred. Learn.

    July 28, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  18. sifto77

    "Criticism of Obama is simply "vast right wing conspiracy"..HC is good at making imaginative statements..probably living in an alternate universe probably reserved for the very rich and privileged..

    July 28, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    just asking wrote July 27, 2014 02:05 pm;

    but shouldn't obama and hillary clinton also bear some of the responsibility for the downing of the airliner? would russia be doing what it is doing without the help and aid of obama and clinton over the last 5.5 years, 4 years with hillary as secretary of state. what did they do in that time to help keep ukraine strong and in the western camp, or even nato?
    -----------------------------
    It is highly advisable during a debate to not ask rhetorical questions to which you do not know the answer. For starters, Ukraine has never been a member of NATO, which your entire argument is based upon a false premise. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, efforts have been made to bring Ukraine into NATO. Those efforts have failed because political and economic corruption within the country, corruption which Ukraine found difficult to correct and change.

    July 28, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I know from my own experience with the President, where we worked so closely together, and as I write in the book, you know, went from being adversaries to partners to friends, that he is constantly working and thinking.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Nice plug for your book there Hill.
    Look, I respect what Hillary did insofar as working with THIS President and doing her civic duty in her capacity as SOS.
    I do not really know her other than snippets of her during times of crisis (ie Monica Lewinsky).
    I can however guarantee that I will be paying very close attention to her up and until I cast my vote in 2016, and that based on the malicious damage that the Rethugs have inflicted on my country, its people and my President, she's got my vote.

    July 28, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  21. Marty

    It would be best if Ms. Clinton and Ms. Pelosie both retired and remained in the fantasy world they exist in.

    July 28, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. Lizzie

    Tampa Tim
    But Putey is a RWNJ hero. Remember W looked in his eyes and saw his soul was good, and gave him
    --remember Pres.Obama telling the Russians "After My Election I Have More Flexibility’

    July 28, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
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