Clinton Calls President Obama to Smooth Things Over After Interview With The Atlantic

Clinton and ObamaAfter an extraordinary public break with President Obama, Hillary Clinton phoned her ex-boss on Tuesday hoping to patch things up.

For good measure, she planned on “hugging it out” with the President at an A-list party Wednesday evening on Martha’s Vineyard.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton dialed up Obama to emphasize “that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies, or his leadership.”

“While they’ve had honest differences … some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues,” he said.

“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.”

The attempt at fence-mending came after she critiqued Obama’s foreign policy – and was tweet-slapped by Obama’s former political guru in return.

In an interview with The Atlantic, posted Sunday, Clinton suggested that Obama’s failure to support “moderate” rebels in Syria led to the growth of the violent Islamic extremism now sweeping northern Syria and Iraq.

She took aim at Obama’s foreign policy doctrine, saying, “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not an “organizing principle” for “great nations.”

David Axelrod, Obama’s former adviser, fired back Tuesday on Twitter.

“Just to clarify: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision,” he wrote.

It was an apparent dig at Clinton’s vote as a U.S. senator to authorize President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

The vote hurt Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid and bolstered the campaign of Obama, a vocal opponent of the war. He became President – and named Clinton as his first secretary of state.

While Axelrod no longer works in the White House, he remains close to his former boss.

His shot at Clinton suggested Obama allies were simmering at Clinton’s comments, which appeared aimed at bolstering her expected 2016 presidential candidacy at Obama’s expense.

Some prominent liberals also took issue with her comments, raising the prospect that if she runs in 2016, she could have a problem with her party’s liberal wing, just as she did in 2008.

“Secretary Clinton … should think long and hard before embracing the same policies advocated by right-wing war hawks that got America into Iraq in the first place and helped set the stage for Iraq’s troubles today,” MoveOn.org said.

In an interview with the Daily News, a former high-ranking official in Bill Clinton’s administration called Hillary Clinton’s remarks a “betrayal” and “dumb politically.” And a former top Obama aide called Clinton’s comments “off key.”

He and two other former aides said they expected Clinton to break with Obama on some matters, especially if she runs for President. But, they said, the break was earlier than assumed and thus awkward, even unseemly.

Clinton warned Obama’s team about her comments to The Atlantic, and she praised his foreign policy elsewhere in her interview.

But her criticism gave new fuel to Republican attacks on Obama’s national security polices as feckless and unfocused.

It all but guarantees an interesting evening Wednesday on Martha’s Vineyard, where Clinton and Obama are scheduled to attend a birthday party for Ann Jordan, wife of Democratic powerbroker Vernon Jordan.

 

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