From NBC's Ron Allen
On a stage with American flags behind her, and a phalanx of retired generals backing her, Clinton seemed to assume the role of commander-in-chief, for a "major" foreign policy speech. Slowly and deliberately she laid out her view and concerns about the world.
The world today compares with the time when Harry Truman took office, she began. (She never mentioned this, but four months after taking office Truman approved dropping two atomic bombs on Japan.)
Then, in one of the few references to Obama, while referring to President George Bush, she said we've seen the tragic result of a president without wisdom or experience in foreign affairs, and we can't let that happen again.
Later, while laying out her "New American Strategy," she said people won't need to guess whether she needs an instruction manual to deal with the world. Along with Iraq, she named Afghanistan and Pakistan as two other failures of Bush foreign policy. She talked about the emergence of China and the need to "level the playing field" for trade.
She vowed to end the era of "cowboy diplomacy." On Iraq, she emphasized the need for a carefully planned withdrawal, and the moral obligation to take care of Iraqis who have worked with America, and continue to do so.
Another swipe at Obama came later when she said his desire to sit down with the leaders of rogue nations "doesn't meet the real-world test of foreign policy."
Of McCain, she said he's a friend, but he can't seem to put behind him the Bush approach of using force where diplomacy would be more appropriate.
And in a last reference to Obama, she said he "wavers" on this matter of meeting with our enemies -- referring to the debate where he said no preconditions but preparations before meetings. And she criticized him for advocating carrying out military operations inside Pakistani territory unilaterally.