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"President Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians is abhorrent," Alison Lundergan Grimes told The Hill in an interview. 

"We have to hold the regime accountable, but we have to keep Kentuckians in mind … Before we engage them in a conflict, with boots on the ground, I want to make sure that there's an appropriate and proper exit strategy," she said.

Lundergan Grimes sought to clarify her comments Wednesday about whether the United States should launch a strike against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Grimes on Wednesday said she was "monitoring" Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryShould President Trump, like President Obama, forsake human rights in pursuit of the deal with a tyrant? GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran MORE's position on the issue. Her comments were criticized by the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard as "incomprehensible."

Asked about the criticism, Grimes touted the "energy" developing behind her campaign and criticized McConnell's silence on the potential conflict.

"I'm very excited about the energy and momentum that is growing behind our campaign, and it's easy to criticize," she told The Hill, adding, of McConnell, "but being mum on issues of national security is not being a leader."