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September 24th, 2014
03:36 PM ET

CNN Special Town Hall: Bill Clinton puts himself on Obama's side on airstrikes

Watch "President Bill Clinton: A CNN Special Town Hall" moderated by CNN's Erin Burnett tonight at 9 ET and midnight. Join the conversation on  CNN's Bing Pulse website. You can respond to tonight's conversation in real-time.

New York (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton told CNN he agrees with President Barack Obama's decision to authorize airstrikes against the terrorist group ISIS and arm Syrian rebels working to defeat them.

During a panel hosted by CNN's Erin Burnett at the Clinton Global Initiative on Wednesday, the former president unequivocally said, "I support what they (the Obama administration) are doing."

"I personally believe the way they have thought this through and planned it and limited our involvement, avoids ISIS achieving their objective of suckering us into their fight," Clinton said of the airstrikes. "We should give support for people who are fighting for their lives."

On arming Syrian rebels, the former president said the administration has "reached the judgment that it is... worth the gamble, I think, to try to make it work."

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Filed under: Clinton Town Hall • Iraq • ISIS • Syria
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Joey at Purdue Univ

    "The inequality is fixable and the insecurity is manageable.

    "We’re going to really have to go some in the 21st century to see political violence claim as many innocent lives as it did in the 20th century. Keep in mind you had what, 12 million people killed in World War I, somewhere between 15 and 20 million in World War II, six million in the Holocaust, six million Jews, three million others. Twenty million in the political purges in the former Soviet Union between the two world wars and one afterward. Two million in Cambodia alone. Millions in tribal wars in Africa. An untold but large number in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I mean, we’re going to have to really get after it, if you expect your generation to claim as many innocents from political violence as was claimed in the 20th century.

    "The difference is you think it could be you this time. Because of the interdependence of the world.

    "So yes, it’s insecure but it’s manageable." (WJC)

    September 25, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  2. John Payanene

    for me It’s always a pleasure watching you on CNN.. it was a very good Special Town Hall!

    September 24, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  3. K. Dykstra

    Thank you Erin and your panel of guests on CNN Special Town Hall. I wished to God we could have at least 3 or 4 of these shows a year. It was so refreshing to hear intelligence, caring and thoughtfulness coming from people in leadership and power. It was like an infusion of nourishment to my mind and to my heart. THIS is how I wish the news sounded. This is how I wish our President could talk to us and this is how I wish we talked with each other. Thank you so very much.

    September 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  4. Lu Treadwell

    Tonight's interview with President Clinton was superb, an example of the best of television. Without the audience interrupting with applause, there was a gravitas about the entire program which was appropriate for the issues and persons – an intelligent audience listening to a brilliant group of leaders.

    Thank you, thank you.

    September 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  5. Joey at Purdue Univ

    Actually pretty bummed I had to miss the Livestreams of the plenary sessions and panels this year. But, to paraphrase Young Jeezy via Jay Bilas, "I gotta go to work."

    September 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  6. Anna in South Texas

    When the Clinton's talk we listen....What an awesome town hall meeting. I would have loved to have heard what he thought about the immigration law and the thousands of children that were setup in make shift shelters. Why President Obama did not come to address the issue personally and if that was a mistake and if that will affect the Democratic Party in the future election.

    September 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  7. Timothy Taylor

    Is there still racism in American and if so, is it getting worse?
    I guess any white American who would feel the need to pose such a question has already proven they don't "get it".
    When you have the likes of Ryan Smith and Sonny Hostin (both high profile black lawyers and T.V. legal analysts) who have both admitted being discriminated against on a daily basis, how can there be any doubt?
    And let's not forget President Obama who recounted having white people lock their car doors while waiting at a traffic light just because our future president had the audacity to cross the street in front of their car! And NO, he wasn't jay-walking but rather he was using the designated and clearly marked cross-walk.
    Truth be told, anyone who doesn't "get it" already–probably never will...

    September 24, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  8. Joey at Purdue Univ

    That's awesome that he spent time in Lusaka. My sis is there right now with the Zambia-Emory HIV Research Project, working on global health stuff right now.

    There's all kinds of superheroes these days, huh?

    September 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  9. Mary Judith Conklin

    We were more than justified in conducting Syrian air strikes against ISIS. THEY threatened us, as well as the rest of the world, encouraging lone wolves to kill Americans and citizens of other Western allies on our home turf.

    September 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Reply

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