Clinton and Obama discuss transition from 2008 primary battle to ‘warm, close’ friendship

By Samantha Kimmey
Sunday, January 27, 2013 21:12 EDT
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In a joint interview with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, aired on CBS on Sunday evening, the pair discussed moving past the 2008 primary race to become “warm, close” friends and Clinton’s work in the president’s administration.

Obama said he wanted to use the interview to “publicly say thank you” to Clinton, “because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we’ve had.”

“A few years ago it would have been seen as improbable because we had that very long, hard primary campaign,” Clinton admitted. “But, you know, I’ve gone around the world on behalf of the president and our country. And one of the things that I say to people, because I think it helps them understand, I say, ‘Look, in politics and in democracy, sometimes you win elections, sometimes you lose elections. And I worked very hard, but I lost. And then President Obama asked me to be secretary of state and I said yes.’”

Steve Kroft, the CBS News correspondent who interviewed the two, said that Obama’s aides warned him against offering Clinton the role.

Yet Clinton, Obama said, “was already a world figure” and that “to have somebody who could serve as that effective ambassador in her own right without having to earn her stripes, so to speak, on the international stage, I thought would be hugely important.”

Clinton said her relationship with Obama was “very warm, close. I think there’s a sense of understanding that, you know, sometimes doesn’t even take words because we have similar views. We have similar experiences that I think provide a bond that may seem unlikely to some, but has been really at a core of our relationship over the last four years.”

When asked about a potential 2016 Clinton presidential bid, Obama said that “you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you’re talking about elections four years from now.”

Clinton said, “I am still secretary of state. So I’m out of politics. And I’m forbidden from even hearing these questions.”

On the civil war in Syria, Clinton said, “I remember, you know, some of the speeches of Eisenhower as a young girl, you know? You’ve got to be careful. You have to be thoughtful. You can’t rush in, especially now, where it’s more complex than it’s been in decades. So yes, are there what we call wicked problems like Syria, which is the one you named? Absolutely…But it’s not always easy to perceive exactly what must be done in order to get to that outcome. So you know, I certainly am grateful for the president’s steady hand and hard questions and thoughtful analysis as to what we should and shouldn’t do.”

Watch part one and part two below.

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