September 17th, 2013

Bill Clinton weighs in on Syria, Hillary, economy

Former President Bill Clinton sat down with CNN Host Fareed Zakaria to discuss his views on the crisis in Syria, budget and debt limit negotiations, 2016 presidential race, and Hillary and Chelsea’s expanded responsibilities at Clinton Global Initiative and whether either of them are planning a political future. Zakaria previewed the interview this morning on “New Day,” and the full interview will air on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday, September 22 at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET.

Zakaria asked Clinton about his thoughts on the agreement reached between the U.S. and Russia on Syria. Clinton answered, “Now, there are some who say well, you know, this gives the initiative to Putin. And, who cares how it came up? John Kerry got asked, well, ‘what can we do to stop you from bombing,’ and he said ‘make the problem go away.’ So Putin says, ‘OK, I’ll do that’ – and so they say well this puts Russia in a position of leverage and it guarantees that Assad is going to be in power for a while longer. That’s a separate issue. But there is inherent and enduring benefit in taking a step that has the potential to rid the world of these chemical weapons….”

Later in the interview, Clinton weighed in on President Obama seeking congressional approval for military authorization. “ I think he believed that first there were partisan divisions in the Democratic Party and in the Republican Party, that is, he had strong support within the Republicans for doing something – Senator McCain, Senator Graham, some of the Iraq war veterans in the Republican House caucus, and he knew he’d have some opposition in the Democratic Party,” Clinton said. “I think after he saw the debate in the UK, even though you might say ‘well, that ought to frighten anybody off’ you know, he had a parliamentary majority, Mr. Cameron did, and he couldn’t deliver it…. I think it made [President Obama] think, you know, this is something the country ought to do together. We can’t pretend that this is not important.”

“New Day” airs weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. ET on CNN.