Hillary Clinton uses book tour to test waters for 2016 White House run

Jun 10 2014, 12:47 IST
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SummaryWith a high-profile book tour this week, Hillary Clinton is looking to define herself as a foreign policy pragmatist who is willing to chart a different course from that of President Barack Obama.

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.

She defends her much-criticized "reset" in U.S.-Russian relations as a linguistic mistake, an episode that is all the more glaring now with Russia's incursion into Ukraine and Washington-Moscow ties at their lowest ebb since the Cold War.

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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