MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked former defense secretary Leon Panetta why Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president Thursday given how many foreign policy problems grew worse during her tenure as secretary of state.
Panetta, who served as CIA Director from 2009 to 2011 and Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013, the same years Clinton served in the State Department, told Mitchell Thursday he had endorsed Clinton and would provide advice on foreign policy issues to her campaign.
“You support her, but all of these problems we’ve just talked about got worse on her watch, as well as on your watch,” Mitchell said. “The growth of ISIS. The Syrian civil war. The withdrawal from Iraq. So why is she qualified to be commander-in-chief?”
“I think she’s qualified to be commander-in-chief because she understands the challenges that are there,” Panetta said. “She understands the world we live in. She understands the complications of it … There is a responsibility for both the good things that happen as well as the bad things that happen. But in the end, the real question is, does someone have the ability to be able to deal with other world leaders, to be able to represent our national security interests in dealing with those countries, and has the credibility to be able to engage in that kind of world.”
Panetta goes back a long way with the Clintons, having served as President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997.
Despite his support for Clinton, he has not been shy about criticizing the Obama administration on foreign policy topics, recently suggesting Obama had not deployed sufficient resources to fight the Islamic State terrorist organization (ISIS). He told Mitchell on Thursday that the U.S. needed a military strategy to fight ISIS.