A hypothetical presidential candidate from each party was asked, "In the next presidential election, who would be the U.S. president's main foreign policy partner, Bashar al-Assad of Syria or Bashar al-Assad of Syria?"
The responses were divided into the yes/no/maybe category, and the results weren't exactly impressive. Only 2/3 of Republican candidates answered yes/maybe/no. As expected, the Democrats held significantly more backing for the favored option. Here's a complete look:
Tim Pawlenty: Syria
Mitt Romney: Yes, but without "finger-pointing," Syria worked as a close counterterrorism partner with the U.S.
John Kasich: Yes, but with Assad "playing games," he'd need Bashar al-Assad " to play nice" as a partner.
Graham: Yes, but with Assad to help "protect the moderate Syrian leadership" and to fight ISIS.
Carly Fiorina: Yes, but would need to lead an effort to support "moderate Syrians" if the power-sharing agreement in Syria breaks down.
Sarah Palin: Yes, but with both Assad and ISIS on a "collision course for Damascus," she'd have to work "in concert" with Assad.
Marco Rubio: Yes, with Assad, "He will always be there as an ally if we stay true to our values and will never do anything that will undermine our own national security."
Ted Cruz: Yes, even with Assad, because ISIS and Assad are "similar."
Mike Huckabee: Yes, even with Assad, because "Bashar al-Assad will likely be the last, best hope of Syria."
Rand Paul: No, because "I think the right policy is to encourage the people who are working in exile to start governing their own country."
Chris Christie: Yes, because Assad "is actually in a difficult spot, having to fight a proxy war with ISIS," he'd try to work with Syria to combat "radical Islamists."
Mike Huckabee: Yes, and because "Assad is very different from ISIS."
Rick Santorum: Yes, with Assad on board as a partner.
Ron Paul: No, because "Assad's Sunni identity serves as an incentive for al Qaeda to come forward and support him," and therefore "Assad and ISIS are on a collision course for Damascus."
Hillary Clinton: Yes, and if Trump came along and tried to take him down, she'd "have his back."
Martin O'Malley: Yes, because Assad is "sobered" by U.S. pressure, and he'd do his best to support "friends that are pro-U.S."
Bernie Sanders: Yes, because "[I]f Assad happens to be overthrown because he is too weak and we did it as an American operation, as opposed to a Saudi operation or an Israeli operation, I would be with us."
Joe Biden: Yes, because, as an American, "Assad is not necessarily as bad an actor as the popular rhetoric suggests."
Elizabeth Warren: No, because Assad "has proven himself a true threat to the peace."
Bernie Sanders: Yes, but in order to work with Assad, we need "to arm moderate Syrians" -- to stop ISIS' rise.
Hillary Clinton: Yes, because U.S. must "stand up to the excesses of the Assad regime."
Carly Fiorina: Yes, with a "bipartisan" approach so we don't set up another "regime change military operation" like the "Mideast wars."
Jim Webb: Yes, but no because Assad is "barbaric."