"That shows sometimes leaders have to do the thing that may not currently be the politically popular thing to do but they think is the right thing to do," said Kathy Sullivan, a former state party chairwoman in New Hampshire who was the co-chair of Clinton's 2008 campaign in that first-in-the-nation primary state. "At the end of this, people will respect her for her decision."
Yet Republicans already are calling it a liability. "She is wrapped up in the administration's bungled Syria policy no matter how she tries to maneuver politically," said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising PAC.
Clinton's backing was not exactly a surprise.
As the nation's top diplomat, she supported intervening in Syria with a proposal in the summer of 2012 to arm vetted units of the Syrian rebels. The White House later rebuffed those plans. Clinton also pushed attempts in the United Nations to develop a political transition in Syria and provide humanitarian aid to Syrians.
Clinton had said earlier this year that she would use the speech in Philadelphia to discuss her views of national security and privacy. But aides said those plans were put on hold given the focus on Syria and the fact that Obama was delivering a White House address two hours later.
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