Frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton has begun the arduous journey of distancing herself from her party’s leader, including a speech Wednesday night.
In a little over a year of heavy campaigning mostly at fundraisers for her expected $1 billion dollar run for the nation’s highest office, Clinton has covered a multitude of issues she can oppose the increasingly unpopular president.
The former senator and secretary of state has offered views on foreign policy that many political analysts see as a determined attempt to distance her relationship with President Obama. That includes a formulated hawkish tone on issues from Iran to Russia, while balancing her opinions with hints of support for her successor, John Kerry.
On Wednesday night in New York, she was "personally skeptical" of Iran's commitment to reaching a comprehensive agreement on its nuclear program. "I've seen their behavior over the years," she said. “Every other option does remain on the table."
An interesting change from her stance at the beginning of her tenure at State when she produced a symbolic button for Russia’s foreign minister to push that signified of “resetting” of U.S. Russian relations.
Two weeks ago, she was embarrassed into renouncing her previous admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin by comparing him to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler at a closed-door fundraiser. She equated his bold moves in the Crimean region to moves Hitler made in the years before World War II.
That was hardly a gesture of resetting the clock on the U.S.’s relationship with Russia.
"I'm not making a comparison, certainly, but I am recommending that we can perhaps learn from this tactic that has been used before," she said the next day at an event in Los Angeles.
A little needle towards the Obama administration while attempting to keep relationships friendly. Yet it was Hillary Clinton as secretary of state who was key to U.S. attempts to bring Russia into the western nations fold - now appearing to be an abject failure.
Wednesday's address was her first on-the-record event in recent months focused solely on international relations. It’s a surefire sign of other breaks to come with her former boss.
During her four years as secretary of state, Clinton was a major advocate of imposing strong sanctions on Iran. Naturally she made mention of that during a New York speech to a pro-Israel audience which included several Democratic lawmakers.
The remarks were not surprising since she was being honored at an American Jewish Congress dinner.
Always known as a ‘political chameleon,” Clinton sent a letter to Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January describing herself as a "longtime advocate for crippling sanctions against Iran."
But, as a ‘political chameleon,’ she also urged Congress not to impose new sanctions during negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program.
She will face rough opposition on her record with Republicans vowing to make her State Department record a major issue if/when she runs for the White House. That will inevitably include the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.
The Republican National Committee recently made a public statement which said, "Benghazi is still the defining moment of Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State."
Clinton will also face tough criticism for her 2012 vote in the senate authorizing U.S. military action against Iraq. Although she has attempted to shy away from that known fact, it gravely damaged her chances with liberal primary voters in her losing battle with Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
All candidates running for president whose own party’s leader holds the White House walk a fine line of support versus an independent campaign.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential run may become especially ugly for her with a national track record that runs over 30 years in the public eye beginning as First Lady in 1992.
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