In a wide-ranging interview Sunday morning, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton defended herself against critics of her words against radical Islamists and her actions immediately after the Benghazi attacks.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week,"
Clinton was interviewed by host George Stephanopoulos, a former staffer to her husband, President Bill Clinton, and a donor to the Clinton Foundation.
Stephanopoulos pressed Clinton on a common Republican criticism, that she refuses to say the United States is fighting "radical Islam."
"Well, that's a different thing, radical elements who use a dangerous and distorted view of Islam to promote their jihadist ambitions, I'm fine with that," Clinton said. "I say it all the time, and I go after Islamists, too."
But using the term "radical Islam," she said sounds like the United States is going after an entire religion, ignoring the vast majority of peaceful Muslims. Also, she said, it helps create the notion of a "class of civilizations" that actually aids Islamic State (ISIS) recruiting.
When asked if the United States is winning the fight against ISIS, Clinton said, "I can say today that we have a new set of threats."
She called on social media sites Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to take down recruitment posts more quickly.
"I know what the argument is from our friends in the industry, I respect that, nobody wants to be feeling like their privacy is invaded," she said. "But I also know what the argument is from the other side from law enforcement and security professionals."
On other subjects, Clinton:
- Attacked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, running for president on the GOP side, for suggesting "carpet bombing" of ISIS, saying "He's never had any responsibility for trying to figure out who the bad guys are and who innocent civilians are."
- Said current and retired military leaders should come together to rebuild the Sunnis and Kurds to fight on the ground in Iraq against ISIS.
- Suggested gun background checks should be increased in an effort to stop mass shootings, whether it be terrorist-related, such as the San Bernardino attack or the Planned Parenthood attack. "I don't see these two as any way contradictory," she said. "We have to up our game against terrorists abroad and at home."
- Said people are within their rights to buy and carry guns after the San Bernardino attack, but condemned Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. for saying armed students could help "take out the Muslims."
- Addressed charges she lied to family members of the four Americans killed in Benghazi by blaming the attack on an anti-Muslim YouTube video: "I understand the continuing of the grief of the loss that parents experienced with the loss of these four brave Americans. … This was a fast-moving series of events in the fog of war."
- Talked about how Americans see her as untrustworthy: "Obviously, I don't like hearing that, George, but I think people who have worked with me, people who voted for me twice in New York, people I've had a very long relationship with and working on their behalf, are going to know what I do and when I say I'll do it, I'll move everything I can to get it done."
- Said U.S. should not declare war on ISIS because it is a "legal term" and that only Congress has the authority to declare war. She said there should be an update on the Authorization of Use of Military Force.
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