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Hillary Clinton on Defensive at Commander-in-Chief Forum

Image: Hillary Clinton on Defensive at Commander-in-Chief Forum

Hillary Clinton and NBC's Matt Lauer (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 09:45 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was challenged at a candidate forum Wednesday with questions over how her use of a private email server, her regret over her Iraq War vote and her comments on the VA healthcare system.

Held aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York City, the forum hosted by NBC's Matt Lauer focused on Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Clinton was first asked what the most important characteristic was for a commander-in-chief. She said "steadiness."

When Lauer asked if that meant "judgment," Clinton agreed, and Lauer asked how she explains the judgment she used in setting up a private email server to send and receive classified information.

"I would certainly not do it again," Clinton said. "I make no excuses for it. It was something that should not have been done."

"But the real question is, the handling of classified material," she said, saying she has had experience with classified information going back to her time on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Clinton told a military veteran in the audience who said he would have been prosecuted if he had acted as she did: That she actually used a completely separate system to transmit classified material. None of the information with headers denoting it as classified was ever sent over the private server, she said.

She insisted, as she has numerous times in the past, nothing in the FBI report on her server indicated the server had been hacked, though Director James Comey did say it is possible it had been hacked.

"Of course anything is possible," she said. "But what is factual, the State Department system was hacked. Most of the government systems are way behind the curve. We've had hacking repeatedly, even in the White House. There's no evidence my system was hacked."

Lauer asked Clinton about her comments the decision to go to war in Iraq was a mistake.

"I also believe that it is imperative that we learn from the mistakes," she said. "And so we must learn what led us down that path so that it never happens again."

Clinton told a veteran, who identified herself as a progressive, she views the use of force as a "last resort, not a first choice." She defended the use of force in Libya because strongman Moammar Gadhafi was threatening to massacre his own people.

"We did not lose a single American in that action, and I think taking that action was the right decision," she said. "Not taking it and permitting there to be an ongoing civil war in Libya would have been as dangerous and threatening as what we are now seeing in Syria."

Lauer asked about Clinton's comments she expected Iran to cheat on the nuclear deal signed last year.

Iran is not "playing" the United States on the nuclear issue, she said: "I think we have enough insight into what they're doing, to be able to say we have to distrust, but verify."

Clinton said she opposes privatizing the Veterans Administration, but said more must be done to correct the long medical wait times faced by veterans.

One veteran asked her about comments in October the problems in the V.A. are not as widespread as they have been made out to be.

Clinton responded she was "outraged by the stories that came out by the V.A.," and will work to improve the agency.

She vowed to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) by going after its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, just as the Obama administration killed al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden when she was secretary of state.

She also called for an "intelligence surge" to take down terrorists efforts online so they cannot attack on U.S. soil.

"We've got to take them on in the arena of ideas that unfortunately pollute and capture the minds of vulnerable people," she said. "So we need to wage this war against ISIS, from the air, on the ground, and online in cyberspace.

"And here at home, for goodness sakes, we have to finally pass a law prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from being able to buy a gun in the United States of America."

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was challenged at a candidate forum Wednesday with questions over how her use of a private email server, her regret over her Iraq War vote and her comments on the VA healthcare system.
hillary clinton, forum, defends, actions
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2016-45-07
Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 09:45 PM
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