President Obama and Hillary Clinton laughed off speculation on the 2016 presidential race Sunday night on 60 Minutes … in answers that seemed an awful lot like foundational work for a 2016 presidential race.
Host Steve Kroft asked the president whether or not there was an “expiration date” on his endorsement of Clinton.
“You know, Steve, I got to tell you ... you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you're talking about elections four years from now,” Obama responded.
“As you know, Steve, I am still secretary of state. So I'm out of politics. And I'm forbidden from even hearing these questions,” Clinton said.
“The president and I care deeply about what's going to happen for our country in the future,” she continued. “And I don't think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow or the next year. What we’ve tried to do over the last four years is get up every day, have a clear eyed view of what’s going on in the world.”
You heard it here: Secretary of State Clinton has been too busy working for the country to worry about a run in 2016 – or rather, that’s the message her press team wants to project.
Meanwhile, for someone not making an endorsement, the president sure had a lot of extremely nice things to say about Clinton. Obama called Clinton a friend and extraordinary talent, lauding “her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project.”
[Also see: 5 Signs Hillary Clinton Will Run For President]
He had no shortage of additional effusive praise. Asked why he was insistent on Clinton serving as his secretary of state, Obama said that “she also was already a world figure … 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."
“I'm not going to be able to do a lot to satisfy the built-up expectations for our role around the world. So you're going to have to get out there and, you know, really represent us while I deal with, you know, the economic catastrophe I inherited.”
“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,” the president commented.
Something tells me that Clinton may be planning on sticking around – as Obama’s successor. This was no retirement interview: at a minimum, we can now safely conclude that the presidency is absolutely not off the table for the secretary of state in 2016.
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