Signals? Biden vs. Clinton in Obama interview likely much ado about nothing
January 28th, 2013
02:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Signals? Biden vs. Clinton in Obama interview likely much ado about nothing

Washington (CNN) - We're still a long way away from 2016, but the picture of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sitting side by side in a prime-time television network interview is creating a lot of buzz.

While some people are speculating that by sitting for an interview for the first time with someone other than his wife, the president was some how signaling support for any possible White House bid by Clinton (very doubtful), the real campaign news from the interview appeared to be the outgoing secretary of state's leaving the door open to a 2016 run.

Asked her political future in a "60 Minutes" interview that ran Sunday night on CBS, Clinton said "the president and I care deeply about what's going to happen for our country in the future, and I don't think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow or... or the next year."

The comments seem to be a change of language from last year when Clinton seemed to dismiss any talk of making another run president.

"Look, I'm flattered. I am honored," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last April about calls by other Democrats for her to consider another run in 2016. "That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country."

The joint interview was the president's idea.

"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've had. It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I'm going to miss her," Obama told CBS's Steve Kroft.

But don't read anything more into the interview than that, says a Democratic strategist close to Clinton.

"The interview was President Obama's way of putting a capper on Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, and of taking some credit for it," says the adviser, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely. "The president's very proud he went this route of appointing his chief rival top an extremely important and high profile cabinet position and he sees her years as secretary of state as an important part of his legacy."

When asked about 2016, the president chuckled, saying "you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally... (laughs) ...inaugurated four days ago, and you're talking about elections four years from now."

Obama and Clinton battled each other in tough and historic 2008 Democratic nomination battle, with Clinton dropping out in June of that year, at the conclusion of the primary and caucus calendar. After winning the general election that November, Obama asked his former rival to serve as secretary of state.

The joint-interview came at the beginning of what will most likely be Clinton's last full week as America's top diplomat. Sen. John Kerry, the president's choice to succeed Clinton as secretary of state, is expected to be confirmed Tuesday by the Senate Foreign Relations committee, the panel Kerry's headed the past four years.

Kerry, the Democrat's 2004 presidential nominee, took over as Foreign Relations committee chairman after Sen. Joe Biden stepped down from his seat after his 2008 election as vice president.

Biden is also considering a 2016 bid. The vice president met with Democratic Party delegates last week, capping a number of moves he made over inauguration weekend that could be considered early signals that Biden may be laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 run for the White House.

Biden, who served nearly four decades as a senator from Delaware, unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008. On Election Day 2012, when asked if it was the last time he'd vote for himself, the vice president said "No, I don't think so."

But when asked last week in an interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger if there were any reasons why he wouldn't run in 2016, Biden said "there's a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn't run. Um, I haven't made that decision. And I don't have to make that decision for a while."

A Democratic strategist close to Biden sees the Obama-Clinton interview as a parting gift to the secretary of state, and doesn't see the teaming up on TV as any threat to Biden. The strategist also asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last month, 85% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic Party said they'd be very or somewhat likely to support Clinton if she makes another bid for the Democratic nomination, with two-thirds of Democrats questioned saying they would be very or somewhat likely to support Vice President Joe Biden if he runs. Other possible 2016 candidates mentioned in the survey trailed Biden by at least 10 points.

Biden, who was a tireless campaigner last year, was back on the trail this past weekend, helping raise money for Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who could face a strong Republican challenge in next year's midterm elections.

The strategist close to Biden says expect to see the vice president "absolutely active" on the campaign trail in the 2014 cycle. Helping fellow Democrats in the 2013 and 2014 elections could pay dividends for the vice president if he decides to run for the White House in 2016.

It will most likely be a different story for Clinton, who's about to return to life as a private citizen for the first time in years. The adviser close to Clinton says don't expect to see her in traditional retail political events anytime soon.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Moose

    Hillary benghazi lies, biden just an idiot, ah give them a pass they are bamman brown nosers !!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. AZ Girl

    I agree, Madam Secretary, thank you! You are STILL one of my very few role models.

    January 28, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. freedom

    "Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference - at this point - does it make?"

    January 28, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Obama is seen sitting with his dog Bo, does that mean he's endorsing him. Neither Hillary nor Biden have officially announced a presidential candidacy plan, they both still work for President Obama.

    January 28, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The truth is not found between the lines. What is found between the lines is better known as spin.

    January 28, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. GuestAgain

    if ever a picture needs a caption:

    On looker – I thought I was voting for jobs and less taxes
    Biden – Hope and change brother...
    Hillary – just laughs while recalling she cant recall anything...

    January 28, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Name lynn

    Biden vs Clinton in whos whos.

    January 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. chelawallace

    @freedom: Here's the WHOLE quote, something Fox won't let you see because it doesn't promote their lies about Sec. Clinton and President Obama:

    In responding to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis), who continued to interrupt her:

    "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."

    January 28, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    ""Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference – at this point – does it make?""

    Keep it up. Those hearings made more problems for and did more damage to the GOP/Teatrolls than they did for or to Clinton. She left with their balls in her purse.

    January 28, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Obama will support Biden. However, he has to appear to be supportive of Hillary, also, because there are a lot of Dems who support her.

    Why she would even WANT to try that again, especially after the Benghazi incident, is the question. It is doubtful, that will happen.

    January 28, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. freedom

    @chlewallace
    And that makes it better? Can't blame anyone for the shameful words that came out of her mouth.

    January 28, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Steve

    Let's make them all legal so we can pay them all unemployment.

    January 28, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Boo

    We just had an election....jeezy creezy, CNN – GIVE IT A REST!!!!

    January 28, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. jpmichigan

    When push cpmes to shove, it will be Hillary over Joe. The Joker needs a long vacation.

    January 28, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. clarke

    CNN can we get thru the next two years first, then think about 2016. you take all the fun out of the elections.

    January 28, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Obama will support Biden. However, he has to appear to be supportive of Hillary, also, because there are a lot of Dems who support her."

    You guys are so clueless. Obama won't pick sides in the primary and will come out swinging on behalf of whoever wins it. He runs roughshod over you guys when it's his own campaign...I can't wait to see him unleashed on you when it's not his own election he's worried about.

    January 28, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. freedom

    ""At this point." That is, and has always been, the underlying strategy of the Obama administration on Benghazi: stall for time until they've reached a safe distance from the horrors they perpetrated on the ambassador and his brave defenders, on the American people, on an insignificant amateur video maker, and on the many Arab Muslims killed during real protests stoked by the administration's repeated citing of an "outrageous," "disgusting," "intolerant" video which in fact had nothing to do with anything. From this distance, they hoped, all the important questions would begin to seem less urgent, and all the ugly facts begin to drift into the dark recesses of public consciousness. " Quote from an article in the American Thinker.

    January 28, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. rm

    They've spent 25% of the article saying it was much ado about nothing and spend the remaining 75% contradicting the point of the article. The media has become nothing more than paparazis, not the 4th branch of govt. The founding intended.

    January 28, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. penguin

    The Republicans are still trying to make something of the Benghazi tragedy. The inadequate security was known by the Congressional committee having oversight over our foreign offices, yet refused to fund more security. When something happened the Congressional Republicans tried to lay blame directly on the Whitehouse when the do nothing Congress was at fault. Hey Ron Paul, those millions of emails you say Clinton should have read, why didn't you read them????? Where was the oversight? You continue to impress me with your ignorance- you're stupid even by Kentucky standards.

    January 28, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. penguin

    I meant Rand Paul- his father has a IQ

    January 28, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. bcrunner

    Dear "Freedom" For years we tried to get the Bush administration to give us an answer regarding Sadam Husain's WMD and we finally got an acknowledgment how many years later??? And,you have the audacity to demand answers a week after the attack... No wonder you lost the election so bad. The American people are smarter than you.

    January 28, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Anthony in California

    @freedom
    And that makes it better? Can't blame anyone for the shameful words that came out of her mouth.

    Care to enlighten us on what was so "shameful"?

    1.Was it the part about how Congress wouldnt provide funds for more protection? (Republicans)
    or
    2.Was it the part where she said it didnt matter WHY we were attacked, just that we need to make sure it never happens?again?
    or
    3.Was it the part where she said "Turkey?!??" as Rand tried to insinuate Benghazi was covertly sending arms there via ships?

    C'mon dude.. this whole witch hunt backfired, and Republicans know it.

    McCain looks like the angry old man he is. They whole clan tried to sling mud and instead, ended up with it all over their faces. So now anytime Obama or Hillarys name is in a ticker, we cant go 5 posts with out some nutzjob inserting it into the conversation (regardless of the topic). Its whitenoise... GET OVER IT.

    January 28, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. Anthony in California

    @freedom WHY are you so hung up on Benghazi? Is it effecting the economy? or healthcare? or unemployment?
    Are you still currently running an investigation regarding 9-11-01?
    Because as far as I can remember 3000+ people passed away on that day ON US SOIL, and GW and crew used that (and lies about WMDs) to invade Iraq, costing the US another 4000 lives. Thats 7000 total.
    And here you are getting hung up about 4 people who died because a Republican lead house obstructed funds for security, and the White House didnt have a concrete answer about "why" it happened the very next morning?
    Wow... dude.. you seriously need to step away from the computer. (and fox news)

    January 28, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. Gregory M. Newbold

    Think about Sarah Palin being President. Now consider either Hillary or Joe. BOTH are quite capable of serving as President.

    Joe`s path to the Oval Office lies in a broadly successful Obama administration that achieves BIG Things. TAX REFORM, Comprehensive Immigration reform, A "green" National Energy policy that eliminates our economic or military vulnerability from oil, accelerated Jobs Growth, narrowing deficits. If Joe can claim hands on "street cred" from significant accomplishments that elevate the Obama administration Hillary will be hard pressed to argue against continuing that legacy. Hillary`s selling point is as a Democrat that "isn`t Obama". If a wholesale continuation of the Obama Era can be heralded, Joe has a stronger hand.

    January 28, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |