Hillary Clinton called President Barack Obama on Tuesday to clarify she did not mean to “attack him, his policies, or his leadership” in an interview with the Atlantic published last weekend wherein she made her first major, public criticism of the White House since leaving her position as secretary of state last year.
News of the call was revealed in a statement from Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, who said Clinton plans on “hugging it out” with Obama when they both attend a fund-raiser in Massachusetts on Wednesday evening.
“While they have had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences in her book and at many points since then,” Merrill said. “Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues. Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”
Merrill’s statement, which was first reported by Politico’s Maggie Haberman, also emphasised Clinton was “proud to serve with President Obama.”
“She was proud to be his partner in the project of restoring American leadership and advancing America’s interests and values in a fast changing world,” said Merrill, adding, “She continues to share his deep commitment to a smart and principled foreign policy that uses all the tools at our disposal to achieve our goals.”
In the interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Clinton, who is widely seen as a leading potential presidential candidate in 2016, blamed the rise of jihadists affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Syria on the White House’s “failure” to back other groups opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. She also implied she would take a harder line than the Obama administration in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and criticised the slogan the president has used to articulate his foreign policy doctrine — “Don’t do stupid sh*t.”
Merrill claimed Clinton has repeatedly “touted” Obama’s “achievements.
“Secretary Clinton has at every step of the way touted the significant achievements of his presidency, which she is honored to have been part of as his secretary of state,” he said. “While they have had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences in her book and at many points since then.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider asking about the call and whether Obama does indeed expect to hug it out with Clinton.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.