Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has begun to craft a narrative about her time as secretary of state in response to those who have criticized what she achieved during her tenure, according to The Hill.
Clinton is sending signals that she does not intend to focus on specific achievements but rather highlight her service as part of a larger example of her experience and toughness.
"I've stood up to adversaries like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and reinforced allies like Israel," she said in her speech on Saturday at Roosevelt Island in New York City, Breitbart reported.
"I was in the Situation Room on the day we got [Osama] bin Laden."
Critics have charged that her time in the Obama administration was short on substance or misguided.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, for example, targeted Clinton's record during an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity, saying her time serving as secretary of state was a "complete failure." He listed a number of specific foreign policy missteps that occurred while she was serving.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has also called out Clinton, saying "Hillary Clinton's war" in Libya led to "chaos" in the Middle East.
And former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina
has contrasted her own experience with Clinton's globe-trotting as secretary of state saying, "Flying is not an accomplishment; it is an activity."
The Hill acknowledged that Clinton is not highlighting her time at the State Department as a centerpiece for her candidacy. She has instead focused mainly on domestic issues.
Nevertheless she has highlighted some specific achievements: the nuclear treaty with Russia known as New START that was signed in 2010, for example.
"If you're asking me if she solved the problems of the Middle East, the answer is no," Democratic strategist Jim Manley said, according to The Hill. "But she did do much to change the world's view of the United States, and she worked very hard to try to reach different constituencies."
Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, praised Clinton's handling of the "Asia-Pacific rebalance," and noted that her time in office was highly regarded.
"[There is] a sense amid most of the public that she had been competent, confident, and eloquent — she had explained what we were doing, even when the things themselves were incremental rather than earth-shattering," he told The Hill.
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