President Barack Obama said in an interview shown Friday night that Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination five years ago, "will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we've had" and added that he would "miss her" once she steps down in the coming days.
In a rare joint interview with Clinton that he initiated, Obama piled on the praise, leading some observers to wonder if he were effectively blessing her presumed bid to succeed him in 2016 even as Vice President Joe Biden has been positioning himself for a possible run. Aides said the interview was about her service for the past four years, not what happens four years from now.
"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," Obama told Steve Kroft of CBS News with Clinton sitting beside him.
Excerpts of the interview were shown Friday night on the CBS Evening News, and a fuller version will be broadcast Sunday on 60 Minutes.