Like Minds

I sat captivated by the sights and sounds of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton being interviewed on “60 Minutes” the other night. The two are most impressive and their artful dance away from some most interesting questions was fascinating to watch. It was a lesson in the art of political palaver at its best. A follow-up news story from HuffPost gives us the gist of the interview and it begins as follows:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama lauded Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as one of his closest advisers and said their shared vision for America’s role in the world persuaded his one-time rival – and potential successor – to be his top diplomat while he dealt with the shattered economy at home.

During a joint interview that aired Sunday, Obama and Clinton chuckled as they described their partnership and stoked speculation that Obama may prefer Clinton to succeed him in the White House after the 2016 elections. Clinton is leaving Obama’s Cabinet soon, and speculation about the former first lady and senator has only grown more intense after a heated appearance last week on Capitol Hill.

The contrast between Hillary’s relaxed, almost off-the-cuff demeanor and the President’s careful, guarded approach to the good questions asked of them both was most interesting — as was the body language of the two main characters. The President sat cross-legged with his hands carefully folded on his lap, for the most part — clearly a man who knows that anything he says can and will be used against him. Hillary sat in a relaxed posture with a smile on her face much of the time, seemingly in the company of good friends and unconcerned that something she might say could come back to bite her.

The two are most impressive and despite the fact that the President smiled his way around the question of whether or not he was endorsing Hillary Clinton for the next run at the White House, the format and the obvious friendship between the two sent a clear message: if Hillary wants to run, she’s got the President’s full support.

The woman is solid, no question. She handles herself well in the public eye — though I did have reason to question one of her outbursts recently before the Senate Committee that was pushing her for evidence of spilled milk over the death of four Americans in Benghazi not long ago. She had reason to lose her cool momentarily as Republican Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin was relentless in his determination to find fault with the Obama Administration and the way it handled a dangerous situation. The Republicans are determined to show that this Administration is weak and unable to respond properly to an international crisis. They seem to prefer the approach of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood: shoot first and ask questions afterwards. Freud would have a field day with some of those people.

In any event, Hillary has come through her last weeks as Secretary of State with shining colors and has emerged as a very strong contender for the Presidency the next time around — should she choose to run. I dare say there will be considerable pressure brought to bear to see to it that this happens, including pressure from Barack Obama who clearly admires and respects the woman who gave him a run for his money in his early attempts to gain the White House himself. Here’s hoping!