Obama offers Hillary some parting praise on ‘60 Minutes’

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Obama and Clinton. ()
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President Obama appeared alongside Hillary Clinton on "60 Minutes" last night, for a rare joint interview, a few days before Clinton officially departs as Secretary of State.

The idea for the interview came from Obama himself.

"I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you cause I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest Secretary of States that we’ve had," he said, in a half-hour sit-down that revealed little besides the fact that the two have forged a mutual affection, four years after their bitter primary campaign.

Obama praised her in glowing terms, and they both claimed that it was harder for the staffs to set aside the 2008 campaign than it was for either of them.

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Clinton has been a dutiful member of the president's cabinet over the last four years, with none of the public jockeying for power that some expected when she agreed to sublimate her own star to join the administration.

She acknowledged the interview would have seemed "improbable" back then.

Even more unlikely, her husband, Bill Clinton, became one of the president's most effective surrogates in 2012, delivering a long and memorable keynote at the nominating convention, and making campaign stops all over the country.

That led to questions of what the Clintons might get in return, but of course, both Obama and Hillary scoffed at the 2016 questions.

“You guys in the press are incorrigible,” Obama said. “I was literally inaugurated four days ago, and you’re talking about elections four years from now.”

“I am still secretary of state, so I’m out of politics," said Clinton. "And I’m forbidden from even hearing these questions.”

Others were happy to talk about it for her.

"You could imagine the Joe Biden camp reaction to that," said Andrea Mitchell on "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, noting Obama was doing such an "unprecedented" interview—his first with anyone other than Michelle Obama—and it was with Clinton.

Mitchell said the Democrats she's spoken to insist Clinton would clear the field.

"There is no one else—not Cuomo, not the Maryland governor, not Joe Biden," she said. "No one can take her on."