By Justin Sink
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said President Obama had a “mixed record” on making tough national security decisions, and indicated that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be better at shaping the U.S. role in the geopolitical world.
In an interview with The New York Times regarding Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, Panetta credited Clinton for supporting controversial CIA activities, including drone strikes, in Pakistan.
“The president has made some tough decisions,” Panetta said. “But it’s been a mixed record, and the concern is, the president defining what America’s role in the world is in the 21st century hasn’t happened.”
“Hopefully, he’ll do it,” Panetta continued, “and certainly, she would.”
The comment comes at a time when Obama is facing criticism from Republicans over his handling of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
“I don’t know how it could have been weaker besides doing nothing,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ohio) said last month after the Obama administration announced the first round of sanctions against the United States.
During an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Obama discounted the notion Putin was mocking him, saying Russian provocations came from a place of weakness, not strength.
“They’re not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians,” Obama said.
Although he served as Defense secretary and CIA director in the Obama administration, Panetta has deep ties to the Clintons. He served as former President Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994 to 1997 and as Clinton’s budget director for two additional years.