Tuesday, January 29, 2013

60 Minutes Obama Clinton Interview | President Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton Joint Interview

Published on Jan 27, 2013
60 Minutes Obama Clinton Interview | President Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton Joint Interview

There are few people we think we know more about than President Barack Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and everyone has an opinion about their politics, their marriages and a rivalry that is one of the richest in American history.

On Friday, we had the opportunity to sit down with the two of them side by side. The White House offered us 30 minutes, barely enough time to scratch the surface of their complicated personal and professional relationship, let alone discuss their policies on Iran and Israel, Russia and China, Egypt and Libya. There has been much speculation about their evolution from bitter opponents to partners in the corridors of power and the motivation for doing this interview. Now, you can be the judge.

Steve Kroft: This is very improbable. This is not an interview I ever expected to be doing. But I understand, Mr. President, this was your idea. Why did you want to do this together, a joint interview?

President Obama: Well, the main thing is 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. 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 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.

Steve Kroft: There's no political tea leaves to be read here?

Secretary Clinton: We don't have any tea. 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 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 something I'm going to miss a great deal.

Steve Kroft: It's no secret that your aides cautioned you against-- actually were against you offering Secretary Clinton this job. And you were just as determined not to take it. And you avoided taking her phone calls for awhile because you were afraid she was going to say no. Why were you so insistent about wanting her to be secretary of state?

President Obama: Well, I was a big admirer of Hillary's before our primary battles and the general election. You know, her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project, I think, and make clear issues that are important to the American people, I thought made her an extraordinary talent. She also was already a world figure. And I thought that somebody stepping into that position of secretary of state at a time when, keep in mind, we were still in Iraq. Afghanistan was still an enormous challenge. There was great uncertainty in terms of how we would reset our relations around the world, to have somebody who could serve as that effective ambassador in her own right without having to earn her stripes, so to speak, on the international stage, I thought would be hugely important.

Steve Kroft: You've been quoted as thinking or telling people that there was no way you were going to take this job and you weren't going to let anybody talk you into it.

Secretary Clinton: Well, I would--

Steve Kroft: What did he say that night that made you--

Secretary Clinton: Well, I was so surprised, because, you know, after I ended my campaign, I immediately did everything I could to help the president get elected, because despite our hard-fought primary, we had such agreement on what needed to be done for our country.

President Obama: Made for tough debates, by the way, 'cause we--
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Part 2
Hillary Clinton's final days as secretary of state included one of her
most difficult on wednesday she spent more than five hours being grilled on capitol hill for the security failures in Benghazi that led to the deaths of the u_s_ ambassador chris stevens in three other americans the biggest diplomatic disaster of this administrationthe accountability review led by admiral mike mullen an ambassador thomas  pickering  found among many failuresthat stephens has repeated requests for better security never made it to clinton's desk the story will continue in a moment

representatives and senators press her on whether the administration covered up the nature the terrorist attack  fact is we have four dead americans with a guy that i protest or was it because of guys out for a walk when i decide they don't 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

Steve Kroft:  i want to talk about the areas this week you had a very long day how is your health 
Secretary Clinton:  oh it's great now you know i still have some lingering effects from  falling on my head  i'm having the blood clot but you know the doctors tell me that that will all receive and so thankfully and yeah looking forward to being at full speed

Steve Kroft: right- I  notice your glasses or...
Secretary Clinton:  yeah i have some on lingering effects from the concussion that are decreasing and then will disappear but uh... i have a lot of sympathy now when i pick up the paper and read about an athlete or one of our soldiers whose had tramatic brain injury i'd never had anything like that um... in my family and so you know i mean i'm very conscious of how lucky i was

Steve Kroft:  you said during the hearings i mean you've accepted responsibility you've accepted the very critical findings of admiral mullen and ambassador pickering, as the new york times put it you accepted responsibility but not blame.   do you  feel guilty in any way  in a personal level  do you blame yourself that you didn't know or that you should have known

Secretary Clinton:  well Steve obviously i deeply regret uh... what happened as i've said many times i knew Chris Stephens i sent him there originally it was a great personal loss to lose him in three other brave americans uh...but i also have uh...uh... looked back and tried to figure out what we cold do so that nobody insofar as possible would be in this position again and as the accountability review board pointed out on we did fix responsibility appropriately and we're taking steps on too  uh... implement uh... that but we also live in a dangerous world you know the people i'm proud to serve and work with in our diplomatic and development uh... personnel ranks they know it's a dangerous and risky world we just have to do everything we can to try to make it uh... as secure as possible for them 
President Obama:  i think that you're one of things that humbles you  as president i'm sure Hillary feels that as secretary of state is that uh... you realize that uh... all you can do every single day is to figure out a direction  make sure that you are working as hard as you can to put people in place where they can succeed  asked the right questions shape the right strategy at but it's going to be uh... a-team that uh... both uh... succeeds in fails it's a a process of constant improvement because this world is big uh... and is chaotic I remember a bob gates uh... you know first thing he said to me i think maybe first uh... week or 2 and he'd obviously been through seven presidents or something he says uh... mr president one thing i can guarantee is that
at this moment somewhere uh... somehow.. somebody in the federal government is screwing up  and yelled  and so part of what you're trying to do is to constantly  improved systems and accountability and transparency to minimize  those mistakes and ensure success it is a dangerous world and that's part of the reason why we have to continue to get better 
Steve Kroft: the biggest criticisms of this team  in the u_s_ foreign policy from your political opposition has been what they say an abdication of united states on the world stage sort of a reluctance  to become involved  in another intanglement and unwillingness or what seems... appears to be an unwillingness to gauge big issues syria for example 
President Obama:  well when moammar ghadafi probably does not agree with that assessment or at least if he was around he wouldn't agree with that assessment obviously we have  to uh,.... put together and lay the groundwork for uh... liberating libya

President Obama:  it when it comes to Egypt I think had it not been for the leadership we showed uh... you might have seen a different outcome there but also understanding that that we do nobody a service when we leap before we look uh... where we uh... take on things without having thought through all the consequences of it and Syria  is a classic example of where uh... our involvement we wanna make sure thatuh... not only does it enhance u_s_ security but also that uh... is doing right by the people of syria and 
neighbors like israel that are going to be profoundly affected by it and and soit's true sometimes that we don't just uh... uh... shoot from the hip
Secretary Clinton:  we've lived not only in a dangerous but incredibly complicated world right now with many different forces at work boths state based and non-state technology in communications and you know i i'm i'm older than the president I don't want to surprise anybody by saying that  
President Obama:  not by much
Secretary Clinton:  but you know i i remember some of the speeches of eisenhower as a young girl you know the got to be careful you have to be thoughtful you can't rush in especially now where it's more complex than it's been in decades uh... so yes are there what we call wicked problems like syria which is the one you named absolutely and we are on the side of american values we're on the side of freedom we're on the side of the aspirations of all people,  ought to have a better life have the opportunities that we are fortunate to have here but it's not always easy to perceived exactly what must be done in order to get to that outcome so you know i certainly am grateful for the president steady hand and uh... hard questions and thoughtful  uh analysis and as to what we should and shouldn't do 
President Obama:  there...there are transitions in transformations taking place all around the world  uh... we are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation sometimes they're gonna go sideways sometimes uh... you know there will be unintended consequences and our job is  to number one look after america's security and national interest but number two find  where those opportunities uh... where our intervention our engagement can really make a difference and uh... and then to be opportunistic about that and that's something that i think uh... but Hillary has done consistently uh... i think the team at the state department  is done consistently um....and  that's what i intend to continue to do over the next four years
thank you very much

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