Hillary Clinton: I would have taken on Assad

Former presidential candidate says she pushed US to 'move aggressively' against Syrian regime in 2012

Hillary Clinton and Nicholas Kristof in New York
Hillary Clinton speaks to US journalist Nicholas Kristof in New York
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton says she drew up a plan to "move aggressively" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad more than four years ago, as she gave her first interview since losing the presidential election to Donald Trump in November.

Speaking at the Women in the World summit in New York City yesterday, before Trump's announcement of air strikes on a Syrian airfield, Clinton said she and then CIA director Leon Panetta had unsuccessfully lobbied for the US to take action against Assad's regime in 2012.

"I thought we should have done more at that point," she told US journalist Nicholas Kristof, in front of an audience of thousands. "I still believe we should've done a no-fly zone.

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"I think we should've been more willing to confront Assad."

Her plan would have seen the US arm anti-Assad rebels "to provide back-up to what I thought would be a one-sided battle", she said, adding: "This was before [Islamic State]."

During the interview, Clinton also claimed that misogyny had "certainly" played a part in her election defeat last November, CBS reports.

Exit polls revealed that while she won 54 per cent of the female vote, men favoured Trump by a 12-point margin, the Washington Post reports. Non-college educated white men were the most opposed to her becoming president, with only 23 per cent voting for the Democrat.

Clinton said the 65 per cent approval rating she had enjoyed as Barack Obama's secretary of state - "a job I was asked to do by a man" - tanked when she announced her intention to run for president.

"By the time they finished with me, I was Typhoid Mary," she said, attributing her sharp decline in popularity to sexism directed against women who display ambition.

She added she was "deeply concerned" about developing reports regarding potential Kremlin interference in the election.

Losing the election was "devastating", Clinton continued, but she said her mind was now focussed on fighting the Republican agenda.

"As a person, I'm okay," she said. "As an American, I’m pretty worried."

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