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CNN Grills Hillary Clinton Flack Jennifer Granholm over Hillary Not Anticipating ISIS

• December 16, 2015 12:44 pm

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Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm refused to place responsibility on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for the Islamic State's growth in recent years throughout parts of Iraq and Syria during an interview on Wednesday, blaming George W. Bush instead for the jihadist group's rise.

Granholm, an ardent supporter of Clinton, stated her views while appearing on CNN's Newsroom with host Carol Costello to discuss Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate, which focused on national security issues.

After Granholm said that many of the GOP candidates alienated Muslims around the world with their rhetoric and policy views, Costello asked Granholm whether Clinton missed the growth and resurrection of ISIS since it occurred during her tenure as secretary of state.

"Well, here's the thing, though, about Hillary Clinton," Costello said. "She took office as secretary of state in 2009, right? The next year ISIS made [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi its leader, so ISIS existed. But everybody was concentrating on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden because he was killed in 2011. So how can Hillary Clinton argue that she didn't miss ISIS's rise?"

Granholm responded that Clinton was well aware of ISIS's activities during her time running the State Department, saying, "Obviously, as secretary of state, she did not miss the rise. She knew what was going on, and she also knows the importance of having a comprehensive strategy."

Granholm then turned her answer to blaming the GOP presidential candidates rather than explaining what Clinton did to address ISIS, arguing that those on the debate stage who were criticizing President Obama's strategy to counter ISIS were advocating for the same kind of military action themselves.

CNN's Costello cut off Granholm and pushed her on Hillary's knowledge of and efforts to counter the rise of ISIS.

"But wait a minute, Jennifer…it's a valid criticism," Costello said. "We never heard much about ISIS in 2009, in 2010. We heard a lot about Osama bin Laden being killed. We didn't hear about ISIS. And you well remember that President Obama did call ISIS, you know, a member of the JV league. Those are valid criticisms."

Granholm did not answer the question and immediately placed blame on former president George W. Bush for creating ISIS by invading Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein from power.

The former governor called ISIS an offshoot of al Qaeda and then said, "This all began, all of this turmoil, when we went into Iraq in the first place. Obviously, it was George Bush's policies that set the stage for this."

Granholm then argued that Hillary Clinton is the "adult in the room" who has the comprehensive strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

In her questions about Clinton's time as secretary of state, Costello was referring to the early years of the Islamic State's rebuilding effort after the jihadist group was defeated by U.S. forces.

Al Qaeda in Iraq—the precursor to ISIS—was driven underground by 2009 when President Obama took office after then-President Bush ordered a surge of troops into Iraq in 2007 to defeat the jihadist insurgents. The group eventually recovered and steadily gained strength over the next few years and officially declared the establishment of a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014.

The United States had a minor military footprint at the time and increased airstrikes against ISIS in August 2014, 18 months after Hillary Clinton left her position as secretary of state.