US declares Boko Haram a 'top priority'; official says terror label could have come sooner

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The 2012 debate was rekindled last week after Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, joined the international outcry over the mass abduction of the girls. Clinton expressed solidarity with the kidnapped girls on May 4, tweeting that "access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism." She ended the tweet with the popular hashtag, "#BringBackOurGirls."

Republicans pounced, saying Clinton should have done more as secretary of state to prevent terrorism from wielding clout in the African nation.

America Rising, a pro-Republican super PAC that has harnessed anti-Clinton energy in anticipation of a presidential run, seized on the matter. And Sharon Day, a co-chair of the Republican National Committee, questioned why Clinton declined to designate the group as a foreign terrorist organization. "She has harsh words for Boko Haram now. Why didn't she take swift action against Boko Haram when she had the ability to do something?" Day wrote.

Clinton has yet to address the matter in depth, but she told a philanthropic group last week that kidnapping is "an act of terrorism and it really merits the fullest response possible, first and foremost from the government of Nigeria." She also accused the Nigerian government of being "somewhat derelict in its responsibility" to protect its people.

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