US President Barack Obama on Friday heaped praise on outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a rare joint interview set to renew speculation that she will run for president in 2016.
The joint sit-down interview with CBS TV, which was filmed at the White House, was apparently Obama’s idea.
“I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you, because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had,” Obama said in an excerpt shown on CBS ahead of Sunday’s 60 Minutes program.
“It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I’m going to miss her,” he added, saying he wished she was staying on.
Many people were surprised when Obama named Clinton to be his secretary of state, after the two fought a long and bitter battle for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2008 elections.
Clinton was just beaten by Obama in the historic race, which went down to the wire, and many observers believe she could well try again to become the nation’s first woman president in the 2016 poll.
A public endorsement by the sitting president would give added weight to her candidacy — although she is already riding high in the popularity stakes with an approval rating of about 65 percent.
“I want the country to appreciate just what an extraordinary role she’s played during the course of my administration and a lot of the successes we’ve had internationally because of her hard work,” Obama added.