Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama’s planned “strong and targeted” response to reported chemical weapons use by Syrian president Bashar Assad, an aide tells NBC News.
“Secretary Clinton supports the president's effort to enlist the Congress in pursuing a strong and targeted response to the Assad regime's horrific use of chemical weapons," said a senior aide to Clinton in her camp’s first response since the president laid out his plan to seek congressional approval for a strike.
Clinton, who left the State Department in February, had been noticeably quiet on the Syrian conflict and had faced increasing calls to weigh in. She is widely considered a top contender for the 2016 Democratic nomination, and – if she runs – the case for her presidency is likely to be built largely on her performance as the nation’s top diplomat.
She drew criticism for tweeting over the weekend about swimmer Diana Nyad’s history-making journey from Cuba to Florida while remaining mum on her assessment of the Obama strategy.
The comment came as her successor, John Kerry, was wrapping up a lengthy hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee intended to sell skeptical lawmakers on the administration's plan for limited strikes against strategic targets.
Among other potential candidates, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is taking a lead among the opposition, going so far as to raise the possibility of mounting a filibuster on the authorization of military action against the war-torn country.
“I think there’s reasonable argument that the world may be less stable because of [a strike] and that it may not deter any chemical weapons attack,” he said during questioning at Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “So what I want to ask is, how are we to know?”
Other possible GOP candidates who will cast a vote in the senate, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida have not said where they stand on authorizing a strike.
First published September 3 2013, 5:46 PM