Hillary Clinton on Wednesday pulled back from comparing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine to those of Hitler.
She said comments made the night before at a private event were meant only to bring "a little historical perspective" to Russia’s claim that it entered the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine in order to protect ethnic Russians.
During a talk at UCLA Wednesday, Clinton called Putin a “tough guy with a thin skin” and described his attempt to “re-Sovietize” the region as “squandering the potential” for a great nation.
She emphasized support for the administration’s call on Russia to refrain from using force and complimented the administration’s diplomacy on the issue.
“I think it is important that we have a smart response. I don’t know that it does any good to just up the rhetoric, unless we can make sure that Europe is responding,” she said, noting that Germany would be necessary to a resolution.
She said a resolution would require three things: the solidification of the new Ukrainian government, assurance that ethnic Russians in the country feel protected and the backing off of Russia. Clinton said a resolution would require a bit of “good cop, bad cop,” noting there seemed to be a marked improvement with Russia after the stock market fell in the country earlier this week.
During the question-and-answer portion of the talk, Clinton spoke on a wide range of topics, including the healthcare law and her views on a female president.
When asked if it was important to have a female president, Clinton quipped: “The right female president.”
She did not offer any ideas on her own potential run but has said she will make the decision later this year.
Clinton said she believed the United States would eventually see a female president in her lifetime, however. She noted a number of other countries around the world already have female heads of state.
On healthcare, she described Medicaid expansion as a “moral” issue and expressed sadness it has not been adopted in many Republican-controlled states.
“I believe we have to get through this election, and it is very important to try to do a better job than has been done, very frankly, in explaining the benefits,” she said.