Newt Gingrich heaped praise on Hillary Clinton over her strong foreign policy stance, calling her recent break with former boss President Barack Obama “candid, direct, [and] very impressive.”
The former Republican presidential candidate spoke with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin about a Clinton interview published Sunday in The Atlantic, where the former secretary of state criticized Obama’s “failure” to arm Syrian rebels in 2011 and pursue an aggressive anti-terrorist strategy in Iraq.
“I was impressed,” he said. “This was the most candid, direct statement I’ve seen from Secretary Clinton since maybe halfway through the presidential campaign back in 2008. I thought she was very forceful.”
“If you read it carefully, she makes some comments about the need for a strategic plan, the need to take on the jihadists across the whole region,” Gingrich continued. “I think she’s been looking at the outcome in Hamas, at Boko Haram in Nigeria, with ISIS, and I think she is much more worried and much more sober than she has been in the last few years.”
“And I think it’s real,” he added. “I thought it was a very impressive interview.”
“Very complimentary from you, Newt Gingrich,” a surprised Baldwin noted.
But Gingrich wasn’t done, later adding that Hillary “was very clearly, decisively on the side of [Benjamin] Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, and on Israel’s right to defend itself — much firmer than either Secretary [John] Kerry or President Obama on the issue of Israel or Hamas.”
The foreign policy split in the Republican Party — traditional hawks on one side, noninterventionist libertarians on the other — has prompted some to speculate that the hawkish Clinton may earn a strange new respect from some Republicans if she runs for president in 2016.