Hillary Clinton Looks Forward to ‘Hugging It Out’ With President Obama

“Don’t do stupid stuff” can pertain to PR blunders, too.

National Journal
Emma Roller
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Emma Roller
Aug. 12, 2014, 11:47 a.m.

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.

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