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Hillary Clinton allies tout her record on 'smart power'

Correct the Record is boosting Clinton's foreign policy accomplishments after a recent interview touched off controversy.
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton, then-US Secretary of State, boards her plane for departure to Yerevan, Armenia, at Aliyev Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2010.

Allies of Hillary Clinton are working to bolster the former secretary of state’s foreign policy accomplishments after a recent interview erupted into controversy over her worldview.

Correct the Record, the research and rapid response arm of a pro-Clinton super PAC, is equipping its surrogates and supporters Tuesday with a report and talking points memo, shared with msnbc, that promote Clinton’s use of “smart power.”

It’s the latest in a series of reports the group regularly distributes, all of which tout a different piece of Clinton’s record, from LGBT rights to income inequality to the environment.

“Smart power” was central to Clinton’s time at State, Correct the Record notes. An alternative to military action, Clinton viewed the approach as the strategic deployment of a mix of economic, diplomatic, political, legal, and cultural power, tailored to specific situations.

"As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton utilized a combination of creative tools to achieve foreign policy goals as an alternative to unilateral military action in many circumstances. This combination of diplomatic and economic tactics known as ‘smart power’ produced a number of results, ranging from strengthening our position with China to combating terrorism," Adrienne Elrod, Correct the Record’s communications director, told msnbc.

Last week, The Atlantic magazine published an interview in which Clinton criticized President Obama on foreign policy, producing some tension with Obama loyalists and from some on the progressive left.

The Correct the Record report and talking points tout Clinton’s commitment to “smart power,” and give specific examples where the approach “produced results” by “rebuilding America’s standing in the world.”

In Asia, for instance, the group says that Clinton’s approach helped counterbalance China by strengthening alliances with smaller nations while also broadening relations with Beijing. In her new memoir, “Hard Choices,” Clinton writes that she had multiple options on how to deal with China’s rise, but “decided that the 'smart power' choice was to meld all three approaches.”

To combat terrorism, her allies say Clinton used “smart power” to better engage technology,  to establish a global counterterrorism forum, and to handle delicate relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The forum brought together nations that did not have much in common, and may not have wanted to work together on other issues, but were willing to cooperate on the narrow issue of counterterrorism.

To implement her vision, Correct the Record notes that Clinton took a page from the Defense Department by starting a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review -- a major State Department self-examination process that “aimed to map out exactly how we would put smart power into practice.”

If Clinton runs for president in 2016, she is expected to put her foreign policy record and tenure as secretary of state front and center. Republicans have already tied to claim that Clinton did not accomplish much at Foggy Bottom, a notion Clinton allies like Correct the Record are hoping to nip in the bud. Clinton has said she will decide on a run by the end of the year.