News / USA

Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Electioni
Jim Malone
August 19, 2014 6:35 PM
President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy, saying in a magazine interview that merely avoiding foreign policy mistakes should not be an organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for president in 2016.

President Barack Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seem to have smoothed over a recent tiff over his foreign policy.  It’s the latest chapter in what has been a long and complicated political relationship between powerful Democrats -- one who became president in 2009 and another who may run for president in 2016.  That relationship could change yet again if Hillary Clinton decides to make a run for the White House two years from now.

It is sometimes easy to forget that before they became political allies, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were fierce rivals for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008.

Obama emerged victorious in that battle and later went on to become president.  He surprised many by choosing Clinton as his first secretary of state.

Foreign policy critique

But their relationship appeared to take another turn recently when Clinton criticized Obama’s approach to foreign policy in an interview with The Atlantic magazine.

“Great nations need organizing principles," Clinton told the magazine and that "‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

The critique seemed to revive some of the old tensions between the Clinton and Obama camps.  It also followed her to a bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard as she signed copies of her book, Hard Choices, where she downplayed her differences with the president.  “We have disagreements as any partners and friends, as we are, might very well have.  But I am proud that I served with him and for him.”

Conciliatory words also came from the White House and Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz. 

“They continue to agree on a broad majority of issues confronting our country even if they have the occasional policy difference," he said.

Evolving political relationship

Some political observers like Tom DeFrank of the National Journal saw the interview as an attempt by Clinton to put some political distance between herself and Obama. 

“It’s quite possible that the American people are ready for a third Clinton term.  But they are definitely not ready for a third Obama term.”  DeFrank said on VOA’s “Issues in the News” program.

But analyst Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution has a different take. 

“She is more hawkish in her views," Mann said. " I think she was speaking quite frankly about what she believes in foreign policy.  I don’t see it as brilliant tactics for setting herself up for the election.”

Republicans are also preparing for a possible Clinton campaign.  But who might emerge from their presidential field is far from certain, according to expert John Fortier.  “So Republicans are certainly aware of some of her strengths and weaknesses, but really I think it is more of a challenge for Republicans to have a candidate who gets to be as well-known as Hillary Clinton and then can go one-on-one with her.”

Hillary Clinton and President Obama will hit the campaign trail soon in advance of congressional elections in November.  But Mann says it is Republicans who have a clear advantage in this year’s balloting. 

“It is especially the case when the president isn’t terribly popular, when people still have economic anxieties and when they believe the country is moving in the wrong direction," Mann noted.

It’s possible that Clinton will find herself in more demand from Democrats looking for campaign help than President Obama.  Some Democrats, especially those in Republican-leaning states, want to maintain some distance with the president, who is suffering through some of the lowest public approval ratings of his presidency.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: mark koch from: US
August 20, 2014 7:39 AM
Please elaborate on what exactly is the foreign policy of either of these two notables.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs