Former President Bill Clinton thinks the American people will support President Obama’s ISIS strategy because they want the president to project strength and make the country more secure following the brutality witnessed in the executions of two American journalists by their ISIS captors, he said in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.
“People were really shaken by those beheadings,” Clinton said in an interview with Stephanopoulos on the sidelines of this week's 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City. “I think that the American people generally tend to judge the president by whether we are more secure and look strong, so I think they do support what he’s decided to do.”
“I think they don’t support and shouldn’t right now…us getting involved in a ground conflict. That’s probably what they – ISIS – would like. They’d probably like that because then they could blame us,” he said “He hasn’t been suckered into that, and he rightly points out that we can help someone else…but we’re not prepared to go back in.”
Clinton added that President Obama’s strategy to combat ISIS “has a chance to succeed.”
Asked if President Obama is experiencing a “second term curse,” Clinton offered an assessment of the difficulties facing Obama in an increasingly divisive political situation.
“I think his challenges are rooted in the fact that first of all, he had certain elements of the media and Republican Party who were always against him,” Clinton said. “It's almost impossible to the average American to understand how totally political Washington is today.”
Clinton did not comment on whether his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, plans to seek the presidency in 2016, but he did share how potential presidential candidates should frame their campaign.
“You have to say that the American people are going to make a hiring decision, and they have to own their share of the responsibility here. If they want people who will work with other people, they have to figure out who those folks are and vote for them,” he said.
Clinton’s interview came at the 10th annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. The Clintons have convened a prestigious group of world leaders, intellectuals, celebrities and philanthropists to discuss some of the most pressing global issues.
“We can document the improvements in the lives of 430 million people in 180 countries. We have pursued policies which have led a lot of foundations and governments to change what they're doing including my foundation,” he said. “In terms of just sheer gross impact, it's been bigger than I thought it would be.”