You’ve really got to hand it to CBS and the producers of 60 Minutes. Recognizing the hole created by the lack of football last Sunday and the opportunity to promote the hell out of Super Bowl XVLII, which incidentally they have the broadcast rights to and will televise this Sunday, the network and the news magazine pulled off the ultimate political coup, a sit down joint interview with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Yes folks that Barack Obama and that Hillary Clinton, Obama the former upstart freshman Senator from Illinois who decided to throw his hat into the 2008 Presidential ring thus trying to lay claim to the Democratic nomination that was thought to be Clinton’s, the former First Lady of the United States and at the time junior Senator from New York.
If there were ever two people that personified political bad blood it was these two.
Think back to that primary process in ’08, Think back to the personal attacks, Senator Clinton slamming Senator Obama’s campaign for distributing what she called misleading fliers about her healthcare plan. “Shame on you, Barack Obama, “It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That’s what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio. Let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”
The future President would dismiss the criticism saying that he was “puzzled by Senator Clinton’s change in tone” and that her response seemed “tactical.” Ironically it would be President Obama who would enact a healthcare with very little if any difference than what was proposed by Clinton.
The attacks weren’t just one way though. Mrs. Clinton’s better (or worse) half Former President Bill Clinton dismissed Obama’s win in the South Carolina primary by saying “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina too.” A remark he would later back away from.
Yes, there was and truth be told still is no love lost between these two political families and their camps.
Yet on Sunday here were these two political titans and former rivals carrying on like longstanding besties.
Obama said that the joint interview was his way of thanking Clinton because he thinks “she will go down as one of the best Secretaries of State ever”. Clinton in return praised Obama for offering her the job and routinely pointed out that despite their differences the two shared a common vision in the direction they wanted the country to go.
Even if you are the most die hard liberal who sleeps with your own BO bedspread complemented by the Bill and Hillary pillow cases this was pretty hard to buy, at least all of it.
I do think a healthy respect and understanding has been forged by Obama and Clinton over the last four years and how could it not, her successes and failures on foreign policy are his, his success or failure over the next four years are vital to her possible future run for the office, but friendship is a bit of stretch. The things that were said in ’08 aren’t that easy to forget.
You do wonder what this means going forward specifically the election in 2016. While both were quick to say the joint interview didn’t mean an outright endorsement for Clinton by the President, It’s hard for anyone to not take it that way.
A Clinton win in ’16 heals a massive wound in the Democratic party. It soothes the millions of Hillary supporters who still fell like she didn’t get what she deserved four years ago. (In fairness Obama supporters would have felt the same way had the roles been reversed.)
The Obama legacy which is already under construction will be enhanced tremendously if he helps to get Hillary into the White House and it would cement a political alliance with the Clintons that would make third way Democrats all over weep.
The odd man out in this scenario is Joe Biden. Biden is certainly not a dumb man and he knows that for the second time in the last two open seat Presidential elections he will not be able to overcome history. Given his allegiance to Obama and his longstanding friendship with the Clintons the odds are long the “old Joe” will announce his intent to run.
That old saying “politics makes strange bedfellows” is as much true now as it ever was. Barack and Hillary laughing at each others jokes and finishing each others sentences isn’t as weird as Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi doing a climate change commercial but it’s pretty damn close.