Considering how hard Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fought for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008, their avowed close friendship today, after four years of Clinton’s service to the Obama administration, is remarkable enough that it raises the question: How long can this last?
The 2016 presidential election campaign, after all, is not that far away, and some of Obama’s other friends may have eyes on that.
“I have to ask that question,” Steve Kroft told Obama and Clinton in his interview of the two for CBS’s News “60 Minutes” airing tonight. “I mean, come on… you’re sitting here together. Everybody in town is talking about it already and the (interview) — and this is– it’s taking place.”
“You–you know, Steve, I—I got to tell you, the– you– guys in the press are incorrigible,” Obama replied, according to an early transcript from CBS released for the start of the show at this hour. “I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you’re talking about– elections four years from now.”
“I am still secretary of state,” Clinton said. “So I’m out of politics. And I’m forbidden from even hearing these questions. I– I think that– you know, look, obviously– 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– the next year. What we’ve tried to do over the last four years is get up every day, have a clear eyed view of what’s going on in the world.”
The reason he requested a joint interview, the president said at the start, is that he wanted to honor the work Clinton had done.
“I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we’ve had,” Obama said. “It has been a great collaboration– over the last four years. 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. But– I– I want the country to appreciate– just– what– an extraordinary role she’s played during the course of– my administration and– a lot of the successes we’ve had internationally have been because of– her hard work.”
“There’s no political tea leaves to be read here?” Kroft asked.
“We don’t have any tea,” Clinton said. “We’ve got some water here is the best I can tell. But– you know, this has been– just– the most extraordinary honor. And– yes, I mean, a few years ago it would have seen– been seen as improbable– 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, 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 so this has been just an extraordinary opportunity to work with him as a partner and friend, to do our very best on behalf of this country we both love. And– it’s– it’s something I’m going to miss a great deal.”
“ I consider Hillary a strong friend.,” Obama said. “I mean– very– warm, close– I– 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.”
Kroft offered to spare reading them some things they’d said about one another in 2008.
”Please do,” Clinton said.
“I have to ask you,” Kroft asked, “what’s the date of expiration on this endorsement?”
That’s when Obama chided the interviewer for talking about 2016.
No tea, Clinton noted. Only water.