January 7, 2015 / 7:26 PM / 5 years ago

Podesta: Clinton to draw differences with Obama if she runs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton will draw differences with President Barack Obama if she runs for the White House and Obama expects that, according to John Podesta, an adviser to the president and a potential campaign chairman for the former secretary of state.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks on "Smart Power: Security Through Inclusive Leadership" at Georgetown University in Washington December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who is now counselor to Obama, said he would depart the White House next month.

“I’m probably going to leave in early February,” he told Reuters in an interview. “Then I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing in life.”

Figuring that out will depend largely on whether Clinton, a former senator and first lady, decides to run for president again, as she is expected to do. Podesta has been mentioned frequently as a likely chairman of her campaign.

“If she decides to run, I told her I’d do anything I can to help her,” he said, adding it was “up to her” whether he served as chair.

“I started going door to door in Iowa in 1967. Maybe I’ll come back and do that again,” he joked.

Iowa is the first U.S. state to hold a nominating contest in the presidential primary race. Clinton came in third there in the Democratic contest in 2008, behind Obama and former Senator John Edwards, a defeat that marked the beginning of the end of her campaign.

Though Obama and Clinton fought bitterly for the 2008 Democratic nomination, they formed a bond when she served as his secretary of state. Podesta said they agreed on a lot, but she would highlight divergent opinions as well, if she runs.

“I’m sure she’ll have some different views from the president. The president understands that, I think, expects that,” Podesta said.

“I’m sure there will be differences, but for the most part I think that she respects greatly what the president’s been able to accomplish with respect to the economy, national security and healthcare in particular,” he added. “They both have a progressive view of what it’s going to take to try to ensure that the economy’s working for the middle class.”

As for his own legacy at the White House, Podesta hates the term and had it banned from Bill Clinton’s White House, he said. But he noted he was proud of his contributions to Obama’s plan to fight climate change and believed global warming would be an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Caren Bohan and Cynthia Osterman

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