(Updates with comments from Clinton at book signing)
By Jeff Mason
VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. Aug 13 They may or may
not hug, but President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are
rubbing shoulders on Wednesday at a party on Martha's Vineyard
after the former secretary of state criticized the foreign
policy vision of her one-time boss.
Clinton called Obama on Tuesday to say that her comments to
Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the Atlantic magazine, were not
meant as an attack on the president. In the Atlantic interview,
published on Sunday, Clinton described U.S. policy in Syria as a
failure and said Obama's doctrine of "'don't do stupid stuff' is
not an organizing principle" for a great nation.
Her spokesman said Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential
candidate, looked forward to "hugging it out" with Obama when
the two attend a Wednesday evening party given by mutual friend
and Washington power broker Vernon Jordan on the Massachusetts
island, where the Obamas are vacationing.
Clinton is on the island to promote her book, "Hard
Choices," a memoir of her time as the nation's top diplomat
under Obama, who picked her for the post after besting her for
the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Speaking to reporters before starting to sign books, Clinton
said she was "absolutely" looking forward to hugging it out with
the president and said they both were committed to the values
and security interests of the United States.
"We have disagreements as any partners and friends, as we
are, might very well have," Clinton said.
"But I'm proud ... that I served with him and for him, and
I'm looking forward to seeing him tonight."
The White House has played down suggestions of tension
between the two, although some Obama aides privately expressed
annoyance over her words.
Obama and Clinton developed a rapport during her time as
secretary of state and White House spokesman Eric Schultz said
they are "very close friends" who are in touch regularly, both
in person and on the telephone.
"They continue to agree on a broad majority of issues
confronting our country, even if they have the occasional policy
difference," Schultz said at a Wednesday news briefing in
"The president appreciates her counsel and advice, but more
importantly he appreciates her friendship and that's why he's
looking forward to seeing her this evening."
Both the president and his former secretary of state have
good reason to maintain a positive relationship.
For Clinton, Obama's network of fundraisers and political
strength with key Democratic constituencies including blacks and
gays, are assets she would like to inherit if she runs for
president in 2016.
For Obama, protecting his legacy will involve ensuring that
a Democrat replaces him in the White House and keeps laws such
as the healthcare overhaul and financial regulatory reform on
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Caren Bohan and Steve