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Hillary Clinton: ISIS more powerful than al Qaeda ever was

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the Economic Club of Chicago at Fairmont Hotel in Chicago on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a more powerful group than al Qaeda ever did because of its money and structure.

"It's a serious threat because this is the best-funded, most professional, expansionist jihadist military force that we have ever seen," Clinton told the Economic Club of Chicago during an interview, according to the Washington Post. "This is far more advanced and far richer than al-Qaeda ever was."

She made the remarks during an interview conducted by the national co-chairman of her 2008 presidential bid, Chicago venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker.

Clinton also backed President Obama's move to begin conducting airstrikes against the group inside Iraq and Syria saying they "will attempt to launch attacks against Western targets if it has the ability to do so."

Despite her support of the current campaign, Clinton has previously suggested that ISIS' rise was aided in part by a failure to arm the moderate Syrian opposition earlier during the country's civil war, a strategy the former secretary of state pushed for but Mr. Obama rejected.

"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad--there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle--the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," Clinton said in an interview with the Atlantic in August.

In a separate appearance before the Advanced Medical Technologies Association - a group that wants to see the Affordable Care Act's medical device tax repealed - Clinton suggested she was might be open to changes in the law, which she supports.

"I think we have to look to see what are the pluses and the minuses that are embodied in a decision about either to remove, or alter, or continue this particular piece of the Affordable Care Act," she said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.