April 1st, 2012
05:04 PM ET

Syrian president's circle holding firm?

By Adam Levine, CNN

Two different views emerged Sunday regarding how strong a hold Syria's president has on his regime.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the sanctions are "beginning to have an effect," though more sanctions need to be implemented by more countries. Clinton told our Jill Dougherty that individual sanctions are "beginning to really wake people up."

"They're looking around thinking, 'For the rest of my life I'm only gonna be able to maybe go to Iran?' That doesn't sound like a great idea," Clinton said in the interview.

But the head of the House Intelligence committee told CNN's Candy Crowley that there are no signs Bashar al-Assad's inner circle is "crumbling."

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Filed under: Assad • Hillary Clinton • Syria
April 1st, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Clinton criticizes Romney's remarks on Russia

By Ashley Killough

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back Sunday against Mitt Romney's comments this week that Russia is America's main "geopolitical foe."

Labeling Romney's words as "dated, "Clinton said in an interview with CNN there were more pressing matters of concern in global affairs.

"I think it's somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don't agree, "Clinton told CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Biden • Hillary Clinton • Romney • Russia
April 1st, 2012
01:10 PM ET

Rep. Ryan apologizes for comment about generals

By Ashley Killough

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday he misspoke earlier in the week when he accused military officials of not being honest about the Pentagon budget.

“I really misspoke,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I didn’t mean to make that kind of an impression. So, I was clumsy in how I was describing the point I was trying to make.”

On Thursday, the Wisconsin congressman said senior military leaders had been misleading when they defended a decrease in Pentagon spending proposals. He argued that the generals were not “giving us their true advice” and accused them of toeing an administration line.

"I think there is a lot of budget smoke and mirrors in the (administration's) Pentagon budget, which is not really a true, honest and accurate budget. When you confront military experts – retired or active – they concede these things to us," Ryan said.

Read more about the military's response on CNN's Political Ticker.


Filed under: 2012 Election • Budget • Dempsey • Military • Pentagon • Politics • Republican
Clinton, at Syria conference: 'time for excuses is over'
Secretary Clinton attended a Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul Sunday.
April 1st, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Clinton, at Syria conference: 'time for excuses is over'

From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty, in Istanbul

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad for what she charged is a string of broken promises and called for new steps to pressure the Assad regime, shore up the Syrian opposition and provide urgent humanitarian aid for the victims of the violent conflict.

"The world must judge Assad by what he does, not by what he says," Clinton told representatives in Istanbul attending the second Friends of Syria meeting, "and we cannot sit back and wait any longer."

The Obama administration last week slapped new sanctions on three more senior Assad regime officials and Clinton praised the Friends of Syria for its decision to form a sanctions working group to coordinate and expand sanctions and strengthen enforcement. "Together we must further isolate this regime, cut off its funds, and squeeze its ability to wage war on its own people," she said.

The Friends of Syria, which includes some 60 nations currently meeting in Istanbul, are creating a Sanctions Working Group, which senior State Department officials told reporters will coordinate sanctions against the Syrian regime and serve as a "clearing house of information on who is shipping arms, money to Assad to assist him in his killing, who is evading sanctions." The officials said the group will use the media and publicity to "name and shame" those who are helping Assad and his regime.

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