In perhaps her most significant speech since retiring as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton praised President Barack Obama's approach to Syria and called on Congress to support his efforts during an unrelated White House event Monday.
Clinton, speaking at a White House forum to combat wildlife trafficking, said she met with Obama and they discussed Syria and how the United States was responding to the reported use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad that killed more than 1,400 people, including 400 children.
"As the president has said, the Assad regime's inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order and therefore it demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States," she said.
The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate noted that new developments that Syria is open to complying with a call by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile to international control were only possible because of a "credible military threat by the United States to keep pressure on the Syrian government as well as those supporting Syria, like Russia."
The president's call for military strikes in Syria in response to the attack has been met with stiff resistance by the American public, Congress and the international community. But Clinton, one of the most popular politicians in America, pushed for unity with the Obama administration, citing shared interests of the United States and the global community.
"The broader conflict in Syria is a threat to regional stability and security of our allies and partners as well as a humanitarian catastrophe for the Syrian people and those neighboring countries attempting to absorb hundreds of thousands, now more than two million refugees," Clinton said. "Achieving a political solution that ends the conflict is in the interest of the United States."
Obama is undertaking a media blitz, taping six network television interviews set to air Monday night and scheduling a nationally televised live address Tuesday at 9 p.m. Congress is continuing to debate approving military action, per a request by Obama.
Assad, meanwhile, denied responsibility for the chemical weapons attack in an interview with CBS' Charlie Rose taped Sunday.