President shows public solidarity with Clinton
In what was interpreted as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s future political ambition, President Barack Obama took the unusual step of appearing in a joint interview with his departing secretary of state on flagship CBS news programme 60 Minutes.
In their first side-by-side interview, the two were chummy, casual and exchanged laughs and compliments, in stark contrast to the bitter battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2008 election.
The show of public solidarity between the rivals-turned-allies was the first televised interview in which the president appeared alongside someone other than his wife, Michelle.
The idea was Obama’s, the show’s presenter Steve Kroft said in the interview.
“I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we have had,” said the president.
“It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I am going to miss her.”
Mrs Clinton acknowledged the interview would have been seen as “improbable” a few years ago because of the “very hard” primary campaign they fought . Had she won the presidential election in 2008 she would have “desperately wanted” Obama in her cabinet, she said.The president said he considered Mrs Clinton a “strong friend”, while she described their relationship as “very warm, close”.
The two laughed off reading anything into the interview for the 2016 presidential election, in which Mrs Clinton is expected to seek the Democratic nomination, though this did not stop the US media and television news networks pondering whether this was an endorsement.
Obama’s running mate, Vice-President Joe Biden, also seems a likely candidate for the party’s nomination for the White House in 2016.
On Mrs Clinton’s recent ill-health, she said that she was still recovering from the concussion suffered last month.