Over the weekend, The Atlantic published a wide-ranging interview between Jeffrey Goldberg and Hillary Clinton about U.S. foreign policy. The nugget that gained the most attention was when Clinton appeared to deride President Obama’s foreign policy mantra, “Don’t do stupid stuff.”
“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Clinton told Goldberg.
David Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser, snapped back at Clinton’s comment on Tuesday. “Just to clarify: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision,” Axelrod tweeted, in an allusion to Clinton’s vote to authorize force in Iraq in 2002.
Now, the Clinton camp is fighting back against coverage that suggests she’s trying to distance herself from the president she served under as secretary of State.
“Earlier today, the secretary called President Obama to make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies, or his leadership,” a Clinton spokesman told Politico‘s Maggie Haberman. “Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they [sic] see each other tomorrow night.”
The “frenemies” narrative between Obama and the Clintons is well-trodden territory. Most recently, Ed Klein has made hay of it with his salacious-yet-shoddily-sourced book, Blood Feud. But despite the Clinton camp’s best efforts to “hug it out,” we can look forward to a lot more of this narrative as speculation about her 2016 bid ramps up. A Clinton Burn Book may be in order.