Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't exactly like Adolf Hitler, he's just doing a lot Hitler-like things, Hillary Clinton said today by way of clarifying her earlier comments that suggested a comparison between the Russian leader and the Nazi dictator.
"I'm not making a comparison certainly," Clinton said today in remarks at UCLA's College of Letters and Sciences. "But I am recommending that we can perhaps learn from this tactic that has been used before."
Clinton first raised the similarities between Hitler's actions in the 1930's and Putin's current occupation of Crimea, a region of Ukraine, at a Tuesday fundraiser during a two-day California swing, .
"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," she said, according to a report in the Long Beach Press Telegram. "All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that's what's gotten everybody so nervous."
The comments were praised by the likes of Republican Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Marco Rubio, who have both pushed President Obama to be tougher on Putin.
But Wednesday, Clinton called her comments a history lesson, more than a comparison.
"The claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities, that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe," Clinton said. "So I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective."
The former Secretary of State also weighed in on Putin's personality, which has become the subject of a lot of speculation after it was reported in the New York Times that German Chancellor Angela Merkel described him as being in another world, or essentially out of touch with reality.
"As for President Putin, I know we are dealing with a tough guy with a thin skin," Clinton said today. "I've had a lot of experience, not only with him but people like that."