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Mook Painfully Dodges Questions On Syria Policy: "What're You Here For?"

- September 21, 2016

Today Clinton's Campaign Robbie Mook Dodged Answering Questions On Clinton's Syria Policy Prompting Questions From MSNBC Hosts About Why He Was On Their Show. MSNBC'S WILLIE GEIST: "I want to turn Robby to foreign policy. We had on about an hour ago sitting on this very set, one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition. She's in town for the UNGA. All but crying out for American leadership as she painted about as bleak of a picture of what's happening inside that country as you can imagine, particularly in the city of Aleppo. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State when this crisis began. What's her biggest regret about the way Syria's been handled?" CLINTON CAMAPGIN MANAGER ROBBIE MOOK: "Well, obviously she's been out of office for some time now." GEIST: "She was there when it started." MOOK: "Well, right, but, you know, yeah. She -- I think she's well regarded for her leadership as Secretary of State. She came out of that office with a 70% approval rating. She in contrast to Donald Trump has released a clear and decisive plan to defeat ISIS. Donald Trump has said that he thinks he knows more about it than the generals and refuses to tell us what his secret plan is." GEIST: "I understand, Robby. What About in Syria, though? She supported the drawings of the red line. Obviously she was out of her office when Assad used chemical weapons. Was it a mistake to draw the red line if the president was not willing to go -- to do something about it when it was crossed?" MOOK: "Well, as you pointed out, the decision regarding that was made after she was out of office so I think you'd have to ask President Obama." GEIST: "Was she disappointed that the President didn't act when the line was crossed?" MOOK: "I think you'd have to ask her about that question, how she would characterize it." GEIST: "You're here to speak for her, Robby. Would you care to discuss that at all?" MOOK: "Look, what matters is what she is going to do as president. As I said, she has a clear plan to defeat ISIS. Donald Trump does not. It's a secret. He won't tell anybody what it is and he says he knows more than the generals. I think the choice is clear." GEIST: "Day one in office, Robby, what does she do in regards to Syria?" MOOK: "First of all, she needs to -- she has said she will work with our allies to dismantle their safe harbor in Syria and Iraq. She will harden our defenses here at home and she will dismantle their network around the world and a lot of that is going to happen in cyber space and through digital communications. So you can go on our website and read the full plan there." MSNBC'S MIKE BARNICLE: "So, Robby, we do realize that you are not Secretary of State, but in the debate next Monday evening how would Secretary Clinton respond to somewhat of a version of the following question, we've had a relief convoy bombed, potentially a war crime, leading into Aleppo. What would you do, Secretary Clinton, about providing food, water, and medicine to the citizens of eastern Aleppo today, right now, differently than what the Obama administration is doing? What would she do differently?" MOOK: "Again, I think you're going to have to ask her that question. That's a matter of policy and I'm going to leave it for." MSNBC'S JOE SCARBOROUGH: "We love you, buddy, but what are you here for if you can't answer basic questions? I mean, I don't know if there's a -- I mean, we may be tiptoeing into Gary Johnson territory here if you don't know the answer to that basic of a question. What is the response to Aleppo? Then why do we have you here?" MOOK: "I think -- look, you're asking new policy questions. You would have to ask the Secretary." SCARBOROUGH: "New? Aleppo's been around for -- Syria's been around for some time. The red line being drawn has been around for some time. I'm not trying to be difficult here, these are basic questions." MOOK: "And I'm not being difficult either. I'm simply saying that she has laid out a plan to defeat ISIS and if there are new questions pertaining to Aleppo, I'm going to need to let her answer those, and she will answer those in the debate and we look forward to her having the opportunity to do that." (MSNBC's "Morning Joe," 9/21/16)

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