Former political rivals US president Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have joined forces for an interview with 60 minutes to mark the end of their partnership, as Clinton prepares to leave cabinet.
During the interview, Obama acknowledged Clinton for her work in his administration, saying that she would “go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had.”
He explained why he chose Clinton for the position when his aids had cautioned him against it, saying he was a “big admirer of Hillary’s before our primary battles and the general election”. He also praised her “discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project … and make clear issues that are important to the American people.”
Clinton admitted that she was initially “taken by surprise” when offered the position and felt “hesitancy.” She said she’d first told Obama: “Oh, Mr. President, there’re so many other people. Let me give you some other names.”
“If the roles had been reversed,” Clinton said, “I would’ve desperately wanted him to be in my cabinet.” She conceded that she’d made a “great decision”.
“We’re both gluttons for punishment,” she joked of her decision to accept the job despite numerous global challenges and the president facing the economic crisis in the U.S.
The interview wouldn’t have been complete without the inevitable mention of the 2016 elections, but neither Obama nor Clinton gave much of an answer. “I was literally inaugurated four days ago, and you’re talking about elections four years from now,” Obama said, while Clinton laughed next to him.
Clinton said she was “out of politics” and “forbidden from even hearing these questions.”
“I’m gonna miss her,” Obama said. “Wish she was sticking around.” So do we.