Clinton vetting retired U.S. Navy Admiral
Stavridis for VP: source
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[July 13, 2016]
By Amanda Becker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S.
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign is vetting retired
Navy Admiral James Stavridis as a potential vice presidential running
mate, a source with knowledge of the process told Reuters on Tuesday.
Stavridis is dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts
University near Boston and a former supreme allied commander of NATO.
"Admiral Stavridis is one of the finest military officers of his
generation," Michele Flournoy, a former under secretary at the U.S.
Department of Defense, told Reuters in a statement.
"He is a person of great ability and integrity, and an exceptional
leader. He has the talents, experience, judgment and temperament to
serve the American people at the highest levels of our government."
The Clinton campaign declined to comment on the vetting of Stavridis.
Stavridis likewise declined to comment on the process.
Flournoy, who formed a think tank after leaving the Defense Department
and is advising the Clinton campaign on foreign policy, also did not
comment on the vetting process.
Flournoy is thought to be a probable Clinton pick for defense secretary
if the presumptive Democratic nominee wins the White House on Nov. 8.
Stavridis and Clinton worked closely together when he was at NATO and
she led the U.S. State Department during Democratic President Barack
Obama's first term.
Introducing Clinton at a 2013 awards dinner, Stavridis said, "She does
the work of two, of 20, of 200 with her energy, with her enthusiasm and
with her boundless determination to improve our world," and praised her
use of "smart power."
In a 2012 TED talk on global security, Stavridis began by saying: “My
thesis for us today is, instead of building walls to create security, we
need to build bridges."
Clinton has used similar rhetoric about the role of international
diplomacy on the campaign trail.
Stravidis was senior military assistant to former Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld in the George W. Bush administration during the early
years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. That could provide presumptive
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with a line of political
Trump has throughout the campaign criticized Clinton for, as a U.S.
senator, voting in favor of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Trump
expressed early concerns about the operation's cost.
[to top of second column]
Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied
Commander, testifies before a Senate Appropriations State, Foreign
Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing on "Diplomacy,
Development, and National Security" on Capitol Hill in Washington
March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Another political millstone could be a 2012 Defense Department
inspector general's report that said Stavridis had failed to obtain
prior authorization to use a government aircraft during an
unofficial trip and submitted improper travel expenses. Stavridis
was cleared of misconduct.
Stavridis would bring military heft to Clinton's presidential
ticket. Trump is considering Michael Flynn, a retired U.S. Army
lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence
Agency, for the No. 2 spot.
Flynn, a Democrat who is nonetheless fiercely critical of Obama's
foreign policy, would be an unconventional choice for Trump. The
wealthy New York businessman is formally vetting former U.S. House
of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie and Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Other potential vice presidential picks said to be on Clinton's
short list are U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and
Tim Kaine of Virginia, according to news reports. Clinton campaigned
alongside Warren in Ohio last month and is set to campaign with
Kaine in his home state on Thursday. Her campaign has not confirmed
that either is being formally vetted.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Additional reporting by Jonathan
Landay, John Walcott, Phillip Stewart and Emily Stephenson; Editing
by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)
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