TAPPER: Madam Secretary, let’s bring in Anne Valentine. She is a trial lawyer. She says if she had to choose right now, she would choose you, but she is still torn, and she has a question.
ANNE VALENTINE: Good evening, Senator Clinton, thank you for taking my question.
One of my concerns for the new president is the prospect of yet another war. I have nephews and a godson very dear to me. And my question is this, in a recent New York Times Magazine article for which you were interviewed, it was said about you given a choice between action and inaction, you’d rather be caught trying.
Does that mean that we are destined for more conflict under your watch?
CLINTON: No. No, and I don’t think it is an either/or kind of question. I believe that we have to use every tool at our disposal, our diplomacy, our development, and our strong cultural influence around the world as well as defense.
And I think in the world in which we are living today, it is really important for the president to build coalitions, to support our friends, our partners, our allies, to be able to take on challenges that confront them.
Obviously, force should be always a last resort, not a first choice. And I will give you a quick example. You know, when President Obama went into office and I became the secretary of state, the Iranians had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle.
They had built covert fuel facilities. They had stocked them with centrifuges, all of that had happened while George W. Bush was president. And we had done, you know, sanctions, and everything that we could think of as the United States government and Congress, but it had not stopped them.
And there were a lot of other countries in the region who said they would take military action if necessary. So I led the effort to impose sanctions on Iran, to really bring them to the negotiating table, the negotiations started under my watch, ably concluded under Secretary Kerry, to put a lid on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
That is my preference, smart power. Using our intelligence, our diplomatic efforts, everything we can bring to bear. But leading the rest of the world, not going off and doing it on our own, to try to end conflicts where we can, to prevent them where we can, and if you have a situation like we do currently in Syria and Iraq, provide support as we are doing for others to carry the conflict forward through military action.
So that is in a kind of the capsule how I see what the next president should do.