Hillary Clinton memoir lauds Obama's "courageous" leadership

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks during the National Council for Behavioral Health's Annual Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on May 6, 2014 in National Harbor, Md. Patrick Smith, Getty Images

Following "the painful end" of her 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton forged an "unexpected partnership and friendship" with President Obama, the former secretary of state writes in a memoir that's certain to be seen by some as a prelude to a 2016 White House run.

"I've served our country in one way or another for decades," Clinton says in an author's note excerpt of "Hard Choices," which is due for release on June 10. "Yet during my years as Secretary of State, I learned even more about our exceptional strengths and what it will take for us to compete and thrive at home."

Astutely predicting scrutiny from "followers of Washington's long-running soap opera - who took what side, who opposed whom, who was up and who was down," Clinton writes, "I didn't write this book for them." Rather, she goes on, she penned it for "anyone who wants to know what America stood for in the early years of the 21st century, as well as how the Obama Administration confronted great challenges in a perilous time."

The excerpt casts a much friendlier light on the president's foreign policy moves than did the memoir released earlier this year by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Clinton nods to some "inherited" problems she and others within the administration shouldered, like "two wars and a global financial crisis," and admits that "with the benefit of hindsight, I wish we could go back and revisit certain choices." Ultimately, though, she says she's "proud of what we accomplished," specifically citing the 2011 decision to send a team of Navy SEALs on a mission to take out Osama bin Laden.

"The President's top advisors were divided," she writes. "The intelligence was compelling, but far from definitive. The risks of failure were daunting. The stakes were significant for America's national security, our battle against al Qaeda, and our relationship with Pakistan. Most of all, the lives of those brave SEALs and helicopter pilots hung in the balance.

"It was as crisp and courageous a display of leadership as I've ever seen," she concludes.

At one point in the commentary, Clinton pokes some fun at herself, remarking that her personal favorite recommendation for what to title her book was "The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It's Still All about My Hair."

Though she's publicly played coy about her presidential ambitions, Clinton's done little to stifle the rampant presumptions about her as an early frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. At a Memorial Day parade Monday in her Chappaqua, N.Y., neighborhood north of Manhattan, she was reportedly mauled by calls for her to throw her hat in the ring.

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