The Dail Beast

The president and his outgoing secretary of state were so laudatory of each other on the CBS news program that they were practically cuddling. Lauren Ashburn on the polishing of Hillary’s image—perhaps for 2016.

Obama Clinton 60 Minutes
President Barack Obama, center, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speak with ”60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft, left, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington on Jan. 25, 2013. (CBS/AP)

The last time we saw her, she was dressed in green, glowering through her glasses at Republicans who were skewering her over the administration’s flawed handling of the Benghazi attack.

Not exactly the image she would have chosen to close out her tenure. Nor this one on the cover of the New York Post (“No Wonder Bill’s Afraid”).

But that all changed when she took to the airwaves with President Obama on 60 Minutes, sounding pitch-perfect in pink. While CBS executives first reached out to Obama for a solo interview, they landed a twofer at the White House’s request.

Hmm. Flawless timing.

By Obama sitting down with his secretary of state, it was clear that he was launching an effort to buff her scuffed image before she resigns in the next couple of weeks. When asked by Steve Kroft why he wanted to do the interview together, Obama said, “I wanted to publicly say thank you…I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had.”

Obama said on the Sunday broadcast that he’d miss her—that he was a great “admirer” and theirs was a great “collaboration”—and lauded her for foreign-policy successes that were rooted in “her hard work.”

He praised her discipline, stamina and thoughtfulness. He called her a “strong friend.”

That’s one wet kiss sendoff.

The lovey-dovey duo smiled, joshed, and giggled for nearly 20 minutes before a commercial break and a more serious discussion about what happened in Benghazi.

At one point Clinton called Obama her partner and friend. She defined their relationship as “very warm” and “close,” saying sometimes they don’t need words to communicate.

If they both weren’t married, I’d have expected him to get down on his knee and propose. This is the beginning of the Hillary coronation. No doubt about it.

It’s quite a turnaround, really—especially from a man who ripped Hillary a new one during the 2008 presidential campaign, causing her to leave the playing field. Remember when he said she was “likable enough?” Or when he said the Clinton camp was trying to “bamboozle” or “hoodwink” voters? It always seemed unlikely to me that she’d ever really let that one go. But Clinton told Kroft she’s not a hater and wrote off the jousts as “ancient history.”


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