Hillary Clinton distances herself from Obama's foreign policy

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Hillary Clinton -- last updated 10/10/2014
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Hillary Clinton distances herself from Obama's foreign policy
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attend the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) greet the crowd as they arrive onstage at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attend the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton along with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and a host of Democrats on the 2014 ballot, greet the crown at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 14: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ruth Harkin share a light moment during the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. This is the last year for the high-profile political event as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) plans to retire. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 16: Hillary Rodham Clinton signs copies of her book 'Hard Choices' at BookHampton on August 16, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 16: Hillary Rodham Clinton signs copies of her book 'Hard Choices' at BookHampton on August 16, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives to sign her book 'Hards Choices' at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on Martha's Vineyard on August 13, 2014. Clinton on August 12 denied attacking US President Barack Obama over his foreign policy in Syria and Iraq, insisting she was looking forward to 'hugging it out' with the US leader when they meet at a party later this week. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 23: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a during a round table event to launch the 'Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing' campaign at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute on July 23, 2014 in Oakland, California. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the 'Talking is Teaching; Talk Read Sing' campaign in partnership withToo Small to Fail and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation that encourages parents and caregivers to close the word gap by talking, singing and reading to children every day from the birth. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and US President barack Obama (R) are greeted by Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) at her residence in Yangon on November 19, 2012 . Obama arrived in Myanmar for a historic visit aimed at encouraging a string of dramatic political reforms in the former pariah state. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) looks on as US President Barack Obama (2nd L) speaks during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (2nd R) on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on November 20, 2012. During the two-day East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Obama was scheduled to hold talks with the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan's Yoshihiko Noda. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton board Air Force One at the airport in Yangon on November 19, 2012. Huge crowds greeted Barack Obama in Myanmar on the first visit by a serving US president to the former pariah state to encourage a string of startling political reforms. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, speaks during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Copies of the German translation of the book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) by Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, stand on display at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama(2nd-L), First Lady Michelle Obama(L) along with former president Bill Clinton(3rd-L) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton(4th-L) take part in a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the late 35th president of the US John F. Kennedy at Kennedy's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery on November 20, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Commenting on the size of the drinks at Arthur Bryant's Barbecue restaurant, President Barrack Obama (middle), prepared to sit down to talk and eat with Victor Fugate (left), Mark Turner, and Becky Forrest (right) during a visit to Kansas City on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 27: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech during a townhall session with the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) at Universiti Malaya on April 27, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The U.S. President is on an Asian tour where he is due to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Philippines. (Photo by Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 20: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears on stage during 'A Conversation With Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton' at the Long Center on June 20, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 06: Hillary Rodham Clinton, former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States (R), speaks next to Christoph Amend, editor in chief of Zeit Magazin, during the presentation of the German translation of her book 'Hard Choices' ('Entscheidungen' in German) at the Staatsoper in the Schiller Theater on July 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha Obama and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the Marine Barracks Evening Parade on June 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Marine Barracks Evening Parade is a tradition held in Washington and is in it's 57th year. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: (L-R) First lady Michelle Obama, daughter Sasha Obama and U.S. President Barack Obama attend the Marine Barracks Evening Parade on June 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Marine Barracks Evening Parade is a tradition held in Washington and is in it's 57th year. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank May 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim joined others to speak about women's rights. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, walks with Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, left, and Derek Mitchell, U.S. ambassador to Myanmar, after arriving at Yangon International Airport in Yangon, Myanmar, on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. Obama hailed Myanmar's shift to democracy and urged more steps to increase freedom in the first visit to the former military regime by a U.S. president. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) gestures as US President Barack Obama (2nd R) finishes a meeting with Myanmar's President Thein Sein (R) at the regional parliament building in Yangon on November 19, 2012. Obama met Myanmar's reformist leader Thein Sein during a landmark visit to Yangon aimed at encouraging political reforms. AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (2nd L) walk past US representatives including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) during a welcoming ceremony at Government House in Bangkok on November 18, 2012. President Barack Obama arrived in Asia on November 18 to intensify a US foreign policy pivot towards the fast-rising region on his first overseas trip since re-election, including a landmark visit to Myanmar. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - Distancing herself from President Barack Obama's foreign policy, potential 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in an interview published on Sunday that the U.S. decision not to intervene early in the Syrian civil war was a "failure."

Republican critics and others have faulted Obama for doing too little to support Syrians who rose up against President Bashar al-Assad. Syria has been torn apart by a civil war for three years, with Assad staying in power and Islamic militants among the opposition gaining strength.

"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad - there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle - the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," Clinton said in an interview with The Atlantic.

Clinton was Obama's secretary of state during his first term as president, stepping down in early 2013, so she was part of the administration during the start of the Syria uprising. Seen as a possible strong contender for the 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, she ran unsuccessfully against Obama for the party's nomination in 2008.

Asked about Obama's slogan of "Don't do stupid stuff" to describe his foreign policy thinking, Clinton said, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

Here's Why Hillary Clinton Is Distancing Herself From Obama

In the interview, Clinton also offered strong support for Israel and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has a tense relationship with Obama.

Israel has drawn international condemnation for the deaths of Palestinian non-combatants in Gaza and the destruction of thousands of homes during its month of war with the Islamist movement Hamas. The Obama administration, while supporting Israel's right to defend itself, has rebuked Israel at least once during the current conflict over the deaths of civilians.

"I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the (Hamas) rockets. Israel has a right to defend itself. The steps Hamas has taken to embed rockets and command and control facilities and tunnel entrances in civilian areas, this makes a response by Israel difficult," Clinton said.

Questioned about whether Israel has taken enough steps to prevent the deaths of civilians including children, Clinton said the United States also tries to be careful to avoid civilian casualties in war but sometimes mistakes are made.

"We've made them. I don't know a nation, no matter what its values are - and I think that democratic nations have demonstrably better values in a conflict position - that hasn't made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas," Clinton added.

Related:
Hilary Clinton Book Tour
Hilary & Bill Clinton

US Foreign Policy
2016 U.S. Presidential Election
2016 Democratic Presidential Election Candidates
Syrian Civil War

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