Tonight President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got together for a rare joint interview on 60 Minutes. Many were shocked to learn that President Obama picked Clinton for his secretary of state, and that she accepted, after a bitter primary fight in 2008 between the two former rivals. Both Obama and Clinton said they were able to quickly move past that campaign, and that they now have a close relationship. The following is a summary of the major questions and issues covered in the interview with Steve Kroft. A full transcript of the interview, via CBS News, can be seen here.
Kroft noted that the interview was President Obama’s idea, and asked the President what his motivation was for the get together. Obama said he wanted to “publicly say thank you, because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we've had.”
The biggest moment of the interview came when Kroft asked what the “expiration date” was on President Obama’s endorsement of Clinton. The question was an obvious reference to a potential 2016 presidential run for Clinton. Obama essentially avoided the question by chiding Kroft for even referencing the subject just four days after the 2013 inauguration. Clinton also dodged, saying she cannot even speak about politics while she is still secretary of state. Clinton said she could not make any predictions as to what would happen in four years. Clinton’s answer was more open to the possibility of a run than her previous responses in late 2012.
Kroft asked about Clinton’s health following a concussion and subsequent blod clot she suffered earlier this month. Clinton was wearing glasses that blurred one eyed. Clinton said she still has some “lingering effects from the concussion that are decreasing and will disappear.”
On the topic of Benghazi, Kroft asked if Clinton had “accepted responsibility, but not blame” for the attacks that left four Americans dead. Clinton said that she deeply regretted what happened. At the same time, Clinton said that it is a “dangerous and risky world”, and that the diplomats who went to serve knew of this danger. In the future, Clinton stressed, the most important thing is doing “everything we can to try to make it as secure as possible for them.”
At the end of the interview, Clinton and Obama both defended the administration’s decision not to intervene in Syria. Both pointed to the United States' national security interest and the complications involved in an intervention.
As a whole the interview made no major news. As President Obama stated at the beginning, the interview seemed to serve as a public thank you to Clinton, who leaves office with a very high approval rating and well-positioned to run in 2016 if she so desires.