January 27th, 2013
03:27 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama publicly thanks Clinton in '60 Minutes' interview

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Hillary Clinton will go down "as one of the finest secretaries of state" as he sat next to her in their first joint interview Sunday night on CBS's "60 Minutes."

"The main thing is I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say 'thank you,'" he said when asked why he wanted to do the interview with his former political foe.

"It has been a great collaboration over the last four years," he continued. "I'm going to miss her, wish she was sticking around, but she has logged in so many miles I can't begrudge her wanting to take it easy for a little bit."

Nearly 1 million miles and 112 countries, in fact, she said Wednesday when she appeared before congressional committees to testify about last year's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Now, Clinton is set to depart the world stage - at least for now, as she has been floated as a presidential contender in 2016. She appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week in support of Sen. John Kerry, the man Obama tapped to replace her.

While Clinton has talked about the wear and tear of the job and recently had a health scare, she said in the "60 Minutes" interview that she found working with Obama and serving as her nation's top diplomat extremely satisfying.

"This has been just an extraordinary opportunity to work with him as a partner and friend and to do our very best," she said. "It's something that I'm going to miss a great deal."

While Clinton and Obama competed bitterly in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, the two have been highly complimentary of each other during the president's first term. In the interview that aired Sunday, Clinton said such a public sit-down would have been "improbable" a few years ago because "we had that very long, hard primary campaign."

"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 and 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. And why did he ask me, and why did I say yes? Because we both love our country."

Not only has Hillary Clinton played a big role in Obama's first four years of office, but her husband and former President Bill Clinton also was a crucial part of Obama's re-election bid last year. The 42nd president appeared on the stump for Obama in key swing states and had a prime-time speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention.

While admitting that their respective staffs may have had a difficult time getting over rancor from the 2008 primary, Obama said that it was not as hard for him.

The president said that even before they both ran for president, he had admired Clinton's "discipline, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project and make issues that were clear." Those attributes, as well as her standing as "already a world figure," made her a smart choice for secretary of state - even if she didn't initially jump at the opportunity.

"We're both gluttons for punishment," she said jokingly of her decision to take the job despite numerous global challenges and the president having his hands full dealing with an economic crisis at home.

Obama said he had always respected Clinton and knew she would excel, but what changed over the years is that they became "strong" friends.

It was a sentiment echoed by Clinton, who described her relationship with her boss as "very warm, close."

"I think there's a sense of understanding that sometimes doesn't even take words," she said.

As a former popular first lady, U.S. senator and now secretary of state, experts say Clinton is well-positioned to be the Democratic frontrunner if she seeks a White House bid in 2016. But presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said much of her decision will largely depend on her health.

"She needs rest. She's exhausted," he said Sunday on CNN's Newsroom. Clinton returned to work earlier this month after being treated for illness, a concussion and blood clot near her brain. "She needs to work on a memoir, she'll probably give speeches. At that point, in about 18 months or two years, they have a big decision to make."

Brinkley described her as "somebody who does not lack ambition" and will be highly influenced by the "ability to break the glass ceiling and be the first female president."

"The question is whether she's up for the exhaustion of going to the Iowa caucus, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina and having (Monica) Lewinsky and other issues from the '90s come back and haunt her in some ways," Brinkley said. "Does she have that fight in her?"

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • President Obama
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Huntsmaniac

    To Teddybear: What language is that?... or is your keyboard missing a whole row of letters?

    January 27, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. carlos

    Lets hope dhe just goes away....

    January 27, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  3. B Elle

    Hilliary should have been president, not Barrack – you can see where a lack of any experience has gotten our country. Barrack knows nothing about how to manage a country and reach across party lines to get things accomplished. He is a typical Chicago thug. If I were the Clintons, I would have told him to shove it after the dirty nasty campaign Obama and Axelrod ran. The Clintons have more class than to hang out with this thug who is running our country into the ground.

    January 27, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. Carrie

    They both made me sick!

    January 27, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. mike

    Good job and planning for 2016. The further you get from this fool the better. By the time 2016 rolls around and the American people see that outside of giving your welfare check a boost while screwing the working class Obama will be looked at as a cancer to the party.

    History will show he is the most incompetent tool to ever be president and Hillary is smart to get as far away from this turd as possible.

    January 27, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Will S

    She is a high-performance individual.

    January 27, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Republicans keep whipping a dead horse – their dishonorable Bengazi witch hunt. Where were they when Bush started the Iraq war with false intelligence data? Where were the conspiracy wackos when the outed Valerie Plame? Over 4500 Soldiers died and Lord knows how many Iraqis. Where was that outrage? How about Cheney's sweet deals for Halliburton? How about Cheney's involvement with Enron? That's good conspiracy stuff! Why didn't you get excited?

    January 27, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. Ron

    To (sigh), that's your opinion and no one can know what is/was in her mind/heart.

    January 27, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Larry L

    @(sigh)

    I don't get it... She only stayed with Bill to further her career. How is that admirable?
    ===================================================================================================== Republicans spent 91 million dollars of the taxpayer's money investigating Bill's BJ. How is that admirable?

    January 27, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. selachos

    On "60 Minutes", Hillary looks like she commandeered the last truckload of Hostess Twinkies and ate 'em all by herself !

    January 27, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. T.Lee

    Amazaing – the number of wagging tongues here pontificating like they know what they are talking about with regard to Hillary Clinton.

    There is not a one of those carping and going on in criticism of her that can equal her service to the nation, her accomplishments in behalf of the nation, (or intellect for that matter).

    Trolls all.

    January 27, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. T. Lee

    Malicious, stipid trolls – muttering and carping about Hillary Clinton – and not a one of them can equal her service to her country, her intellect, or her accomplishments over her long career.

    January 27, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. lawless

    My hat goes off for Mrs. Clinton...If she runs for POTUS in 2016...she can count my vote in too...Although VP Biden would be a excellent alterative if she decides not to run.. its a win win...

    January 27, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  14. ted

    I will vote for her if she runs for president in 2016. If she does run, the GOP might as well not bother putting up anyone.

    January 27, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. bspurloc

    Hillary > gop...
    but then again most people are

    January 27, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. coderjones

    She certainly has "earned" her political respect .... More so than most of the politicians in Washington.

    January 27, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. plain&simple

    Bottom line...she loves our country!!! Listen up newbies And tepublicans .... hear that. That's what leadership is all about. She and Obama did fierce battle in 2008 yet teamed up to make America better. You may dispute this,but ask the world who they respect today,ask our allies how we are doing. Our word means something ,or vision to the future is inclusive..... We now lead by example and intelligence....not fear. We have stayed strong with our military but we do not abuse this strength. Wisdom has shown itself in our leaders and may it continue.

    January 27, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  18. vic , nashville ,tn

    yes she will run in 2016

    January 27, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. J

    Great job !! She will be missed

    January 27, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  20. James

    Didn't watch it but was he sincere or just another one of his feigned gratuitous acts.

    January 27, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Time for beer thx for the years girl

    January 27, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  22. lulu

    Hillary Clinton is a liar, plain and simple. She lied at the hearing about not reading the cables where our very own American Ambassador begged and begged and PLEADED for help, he was so scared and then he was murdered. And after he was murdered she lied that it was a video in front of AMBASSADOR'S COFFIN!!! IN FRONT OF THE AMBASSADOR'S FAMILY AND THEN HAD AN AMERICAN ARRESTED WHO IS STILL IN JAIL, FOR WHAT? The ignorant people who would vote for her for President should be ashamed of themselves. It all about bias against WHITE MEN these days. Obama has caused a great deal of hate and division and also, I don't know how Hillary Clinton sleeps at night, those men in Bengazi could have been saved if she didn't refuse to help them.

    January 27, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  23. lulu

    Hillary, we know you lied at the hearing. If you become President it will be almost as bad as Obama being President. Two very anti-American people who have lied to us and caused great division and hate in America today.

    January 27, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. theINDEPENDENTone

    You say I'm great and I say you're and WHO CARES about the rest.

    January 27, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  25. Ray

    She has my vote, that is along as I still have one come 2016.

    January 27, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
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