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Matt Politicano
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HRC and Assad

RNC: “Four Years Ago, Clinton Said Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad Was ‘A Reformer’ And That He Was A ‘Different Leader’ From His Autocratic Father.” [RNC, 4/9/15] Secretary Clinton: “There Is A Different Leader In Syria Now. Many Of The Members On Congress Of Both Parties Who Have Gone To Syria In Recent Months Have Said They Believe He Is A Reformer.” “There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members on Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he is a reformer. What’s been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning, but there is a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities, and police actions which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see.” [Face the Nation, CBS, 3/27/11] Politifact: “Clinton Did Refer To Assad As ‘A Reformer’…But She Crafted The Line As The Opinion Of ‘Members Of Congress Of Both Parties,’ Not Her Opinion…And She Never Defended (As Wallace Said) Assad.” “So Clinton did refer to Assad as ‘a reformer.’ But she crafted the line as the opinion of ‘members of Congress of both parties,’ not her opinion. And she never defended (as Wallace said) Assad, instead saying in that interview that he "exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see." [Politifact, 6/1/14] Washington Post Fact Checker: Searching For Comments From Republicans Who Had Visited Syria Since Bashar Assad Became President, “We Could Not Find Anything Close To Sentiments Indicating Assad Was A Reformer.” “But what about Republicans? Clinton claimed that ‘many of the members of both parties’ who had gone to Syria ‘in recent months’ had decided Assad was a reformer. The State Department, however, refused to provide any names. So, using news articles, the Internet and other sources, we tried to identify every Republican lawmaker who had gone to Syria on an official trip since Pelosi’s visit in 2007. We came up with a list of 13 names, some of whom are now retired and some of whom have made repeated visits. We then checked every public statement or news release the lawmakers made about their trips or meetings with Assad. We could not find anything close to sentiments indicating Assad was a reformer. Issa, for instance, urged a need for dialogue but said that ‘we should hold no illusions about the regime of Bashar al-Assad.’” [Washington Post, 4/4/11] Secretary Clinton On Assad As A Reformer: “I Referenced Opinions Of Others…That Was Not Speaking Either For Myself Or For The Administration…We Deplore The Crackdown That Is Occurring In Syria.” “QUESTION: Thank you. I have a question regarding Syria. Over the weekend, you gave an interview where you said how many members of Congress viewed President Asad as a reformer. Is that your position?...SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, Jay, as you rightly pointed out, I referenced opinions of others. That was not speaking either for myself or for the Administration. We deplore the crackdown that is occurring in Syria and we call on Syria, as we have throughout the last months, to respect the rights of its citizens, to allow people to protest peacefully, to work toward political and economic reform that would be to the benefit of the Syrian people.” [State Department, 3/29/11]