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Hillary Clinton details plan to defeat ISIS, defends ties to Wall Street

Only on "CBS This Morning," Clinton discusses details of her plan to destroy ISIS, including special forces, air strikes and a no-fly zone in Syria
Hillary Clinton on strategy to defeat ISIS, cooperation with Russia 04:44

In her first television interview since the Paris attacks, Hillary Clinton spoke to "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose about her plans to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and controversies over her ties with Wall Street.

Sticking by President Obama's current strategy, the former secretary of state said she could not "conceive of any circumstances" where she would agree to send American combat troops to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Clinton on Wall Street connections, why she's running for president 04:26

"We don't know yet how many Special Forces... trainers and surveillance and enablers might be needed," Clinton told Rose at the Hay Adams, across the White House. "But in terms of thousands of combat troops like some on the Republican side are recommending... it should be a non-starter, both because I don't think it's the smartest way to go after ISIS - I think it gives ISIS a new recruitment tool if we get back in the fight."

Calling the terror group a "barbaric enemy which has more money and now controls territory," the Democratic presidential candidate said the fight against the terror group must occur on various fronts - in the air, on the ground and in cyberspace.

Clinton also emphasized the importance of getting over "the false choice between either going after Assad or going after ISIS," by bringing in the Russians.

"You know, the Russians have now paid a big price," Clinton said, referring to the downed Russian jet in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. "I think you say, 'Look, we need your - if not your active help - your acquiescence in what we're going after ISIS.' So that means you're going to have to pull back from this area while we go after their leadership and their economic infrastructure."

Another key strategy Clinton advocates is a no-fly zone over northern Syria. When asked about a possible Russian invasion of the no-fly zone, Clinton said that would not be possible because the Russians will be "clearly kept informed" about the area.

"I want them at the table. They don't have to participate in it, but I want them to understand that there has to be safe areas on the ground," she said.

Clinton also stressed the need for a continued dialogue about national unity in Libya, where ISIS is expanding its presence.

"We need to join together right now before they get a stronghold and work to eliminate ISIS in Sirte. And it is something that is going to require a lot of cooperation," Clinton said. "There are armed groups that are fighting for power within Libya that are not in any way identified with or allied with ISIS. They need to form even a loose confederation to try to push ISIS literally into the sea before they get a stronghold."

Clinton also addressed criticism that as secretary of state she met with dozens of corporate executives and long-time political donors.

"The fact is, I saw a lot of people when I was secretary of state. And I worked really hard to increase exports from American businesses. I saw a lot of business people. I saw a lot of union leaders. I saw as many people as I could fit in the day who needed something from their government," Clinton said.

Does Hillary Clinton have a Wall Street problem? 05:23

She recounted when FedEx CEO Fred Smith would call her up and say, "The Chinese government's taking away our permits. We've been in China for decades doing Federal Express." Or Corning, a company that she knew well from her time in the Senate, would tell her, "They're trying to put a tariff on us that is going to drive us out of business."

"I worked really hard to get more jobs for Americans, and that meant representing big business and small business and everybody in between," Clinton added.

Clinton said she doesn't think her critics saying she's too close to Wall Street has hurt her image while running for president.

"I have stood for a lot of regulation on big banks and on the financial services sector. I also represented New York and represented everybody from the dairy farmers to the fishermen...And so, yes, do I know people? And did I help rebuild after 9/11? Yes, I did," Clinton said.

"And did you take money?" Rose asked.

"Yeah. But that has nothing to do with my positions. Anybody who thinks that they can influence me on that ground doesn't know me very well," Clinton said.

Clinton has led a remarkable career, but she's not running for president, she said, to make history and be the first female president.

"I mean, that's all-- that would all be an extra, added part of it. But for me, I really love this country," Clinton said. "And I think this will be one of those watershed elections where we're either going to get the economy to work for everybody, or we are going to see increasing inequality and unfairness in a way that we haven't seen since, you know, the 1920s."

"We're either going to figure out how to live together despite all of our differences, show respect for people, enforce human rights, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, workers' rights, or we're going to really have the balance shift dramatically against the kind of democracy that I believe in, that I think works best for America," she said. "And we're either going to lead around the world, or we're going to take a back seat and pay a big price for it."

Clinton acknowledged a lot of people think the biggest problem for America is Washington and its politics.

"But look at the way our founders set it up. They set up the separation of powers. And they made it really difficult to get things done," Clinton said. "And some years, it's really hard. And we're in one of these periods where we have a minority within the other party that doesn't believe in compromise, doesn't believe in reaching consensus."

"But there you go attacking them. That's not the way to do it," Rose pointed out.

"No, no. Because part of what you have to do is make it clear to everyone else who is in that party that there is room for negotiation," Clinton said.

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