Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, widely viewed as having criticized President Obama’s foreign policy to further her own political ambitions, said through a spokesman Tuesday that she looks forward to “hugging it out” with the president at a party Wednesday.
“Secretary Clinton was proud to serve with President Obama; she was proud to be his partner in the project of restoring American leadership and advancing America’s interests and values in a fast-changing world,” Clinton aide Nick Merrill said in a statement. “She continues to share his deep commitment to a smart and principled foreign policy that uses all the tools at our disposal to achieve our goals.”
In an interview with The Atlantic magazine, Mrs. Clinton said the administration’s handling of the civil war in Syria has been a “failure” that allowed Islamist extremists to fill a power vacuum and spread their violence into Iraq. She criticized Mr. Obama for summing up his foreign policy vision as “don’t do stupid stuff.”
“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It may be a necessary brake on the actions you might take in order to promote a vision.”
Mr. Merrill said the two opponents in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary have some honest differences of opinion, but they share “broad agreement” on “most issues.”
“Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when they see each other tomorrow night,” Mr. Merrill said, referring to a party at Martha’s Vineyard that both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton will attend. The president is vacationing on the island.
Mr. Merrill said Mrs. Clinton called the president Tuesday to make sure he understands “that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies or his leadership.”
Republicans have noted that Mrs. Clinton was in charge of foreign policy until she quit her post in early 2013. Many observers believe her interview was calculated to separate herself from Mr. Obama’s policies in preparation for a presidential bid in 2016.
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said on Twitter Tuesday: “Just to clarify: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.”