Washington Post political reporter penned a column for Thursday’s paper with the headline “Could Clinton’s position on Syria today resurface in 2016?” Balz spent a whole column recounting how Senator Hillary’s vote authorizing the Iraq war doomed her in the 2008 race.
Unsurprisingly, Hillary put out a statement supporting Obama’s plans for military action. What was surprising is that Balz wrote an entire column on what might come back to bite Hillary in a presidential campaign without ever remembering she insisted on CBS that Bashar Assad was “a reformer,” not the next Saddam-style international outlaw:
“There’s a different leader in Syria now,” Clinton said on the CBS interview program Face The Nation in 2011. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”
Balz instead implied she was hawkish against Assad: “As a member of the administration, she often took a more hawkish line than Obama in pushing for greater military and other support for the Syrian rebels — although like the president and others, she opposed putting boots on the ground as part of that effort.”
This kind of amnesia made it unintentionally comical when Balz discussed how the media would magnify anything she said on Syria:
Almost anything she says about Syria will draw a huge amount of attention, particularly if she were to put any distance between her position and the president’s.
If Clinton runs again, she will be asked for a fuller accounting of her views on Syria and may be pressed to outline where she and the president diverged on what to do. For now, she may choose simply to endorse Obama’s efforts...
One former administration official, who spoke before Clinton’s office issued its statement, recommended that she stay out of the matter, in part because the media will parse and magnify whatever she says.
Let’s guess Hillary is not exactly shivering in her pantsuit about the long memory of Dan Balz.