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Bill Clinton: 'Who cares' how Syria deal developed?

Critics of the administration have said that the deal, which grew out of an offhand remark made by Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference in London, is evidence that the Obama administration lacks a coherent foreign policy. Others have charged that the agreement, brokered by Russia, increases the stature and credibility of the Kremlin in the Middle East.

But Clinton said Americans should focus on the outcomes over the process.

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“Now, there are some who say well, you know, this gives the initiative to Putin," Clinton told CNN's Fareed Zakaria during an interview airing on "New Day." "And, who cares how it came up? John Kerry got asked, well, ‘What can we do to stop you from bombing,’ and he said, ‘Make the problem go away.’ So Putin says, ‘OK, I’ll do that.’"

Clinton conceded that there remained the "separate issue" of the deal giving Russia leverage and maintaining the power of the Assad regime.

"But there is inherent and enduring benefit in taking a step that has the potential to rid the world of these chemical weapons," Clinton said.

The former president also sought to explain the rationale behind Obama's decision to seek congressional approval for a use of force, saying he thought a failed vote in the British Parliament likely concerned Obama.

"I think it made [President Obama] think, you know, this is something the country ought to do together. We can’t pretend that this is not important," Clinton said.

On Saturday, Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced an accord in Geneva that lays out a plan to secure and then destroy Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. 

The deal is expected to prevent military action, although President Obama said in a statement that “there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply.”