Clinton uses book tour to test waters for White House run
Updated: 2014-06-11 10:35
Hillary Clinton holds a copy of her new book "Hard Choices" during a book signing in New York June 10, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
Her four years at the State Department were not, however, without controversy, and Clinton is using the tour to defend her record and explain her reasoning behind key decisions.
A chapter is devoted to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by militants on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya, in which the US ambassador to Libya was killed. Republicans have accused then-Secretary Clinton of not doing more to ensure the safety of Americans there.
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"I'm not equipped to sit and look at blueprints, to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be," she said. "That's why we hire people who have that expertise."
Republicans are vowing to keep the issue alive, saying it calls into question how she would deal with foreign policy crises as president.
"Benghazi is not going away," said Republican strategist Scott Reed.
In the book, Clinton treads a careful path between being a faithful servant to Obama and someone who would chart her own course on the global stage.
In what may be an attempt to head off criticism from the left, she disavows her 2002 Senate vote in favor of the Iraq war, a vote Obama used effectively against Clinton in defeating her for the nomination in 2008.
Clinton says she differed with Obama on deciding not to arm Syrian rebels. She is skeptical about negotiations with the Taliban, a move that gives her some distance from uncomfortable questions regarding Obama's swap of five high-value Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
"It's a campaign book, but what she is trying to do is set the record straight, then move on to other things. So that's why it's coming out now," said Keith Urbahn, a book agent for conservatives.
The book tour recalls Clinton's "listening tour" of New York state, which she conducted before deciding to run for a New York Senate seat in 2000, an election she won.
"I am convinced that she has already decided to run and that she will run and that she will be the nominee. I think this is just the first phase of the process," said Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, who advised John Kerry on his 2004 presidential run.
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