EDGARTOWN, Mass. — After distancing herself from some of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called her ex-boss Tuesday to try to smooth things over and planned on “hugging it out” in person at an upcoming get-together.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton told Obama by phone that nothing she said in a magazine interview was an attempt to attack him or his leadership. The call came on the eve of a party on Martha’s Vineyard that Clinton and Obama planned to attend.
Clinton’s assessments of Obama’s foreign policy to The Atlantic came at a sensitive time for both her and Obama. She is preparing for a possible second try for the presidency and he is grappling with how far to involve the United States in explosive disputes in Ukraine, Syria, Gaza, Iraq and elsewhere.
Clinton, who carried out Obama’s diplomacy in his first term, described a different approach she would take in places like Syria and the Mideast. And she rebuked Obama’s cautious approach to global crises.
“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” she said in a weekend magazine interview, referring to a version of the phrase Obama and his advisers have used privately to describe his approach to foreign policy.
Merrill said Clinton continued to share Obama’s “deep commitment to smart and principled foreign policy,” has touted his achievements and was honored to be part of his team, despite some differences.
“Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues,” Merrill said in a written statement. “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.”
Clinton and Obama were planning to attend a party Wednesday night on Martha’s Vineyard for Ann Jordan, wife of Democratic adviser Vernon Jordan. Clinton is on the Massachusetts island for a memoir-signing session at a bookstore, while Obama is in the midst of a two-week vacation.
The White House initially said Obama didn’t plan to see Clinton while she was on the island. But after the interview was published, the White House said Obama decided to go to the party.