The New Republic quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic Hof on the unintended implications of President Obama’s policy towards Syria:
This brings me to the Obama administration’s diplomacy. I want to look at two statements that President Obama made that turned out to have what I think were unintended meanings. On August 18, 2011, Obama issued a statement calling for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to leave office. “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al Assad is standing in their way,” Obama said. “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” On December 14 that year, Frederic Hof, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Assad was a “dead man walking.” Hof’s words were repeated in hundreds of news articles and were attributed to Clinton herself.