News / USA

Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Electioni
X
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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More