Obama and Clinton: The 60 Minutes interview

From bitter opponents to powerful partners, President Obama and Secretary Clinton discuss their friendship, Benghazi, Clinton's health and more

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Steve Kroft: It's one thing to have disagreements between cabinet people. I spent time with both of you in the 2008 campaign. That was a very tough, bitter race. And I'm going to spare you reading some of the things that you said about each other during that campaign.

Secretary Clinton: Please do.

Steve Kroft: But how long did it take you to get over that? And when did it happen?

President Obama: You know, the-- it didn't take as long as I think people would perceive it. As I said, once the primary was over, Hillary worked very hard for me. Bill worked very hard for me. So we were interacting on a fairly regular basis. I think it was harder for the staffs, which is understandable. Because, you know, they get invested in this stuff in ways that I think the candidates maybe don't. You know, Hillary mentioned, you know, part of our bond is we've been through a lot of the same stuff. And part of being through the same stuff is getting whacked around in political campaigns, being criticized in the press. You know, we've both built some pretty thick skins. And you know, sometimes our staffs don't go through that so they are taking umbrage and offense. And, they're reading every blog and every tweet. And, you know, and most of the time, you know, Hillary, I suspect, you know, handles this the same way I do, you know? We kind of have a block-- a screen from a lot of the silliness that happens during presidential campaigns. And so for me at least, you know, by the time Hillary joined the administration, I felt very confident and comfortable in our working relationship. I think what did evolve was a friendship as opposed to just a professional relationship. It be--friendships involve a sense of trust and being in the foxhole together. And that emerged during the course of months when we were making some very tough decisions.

Steve Kroft: You said the staff took a little longer to ignore, to forget the campaign stuff. What about the spouses? Is that an impertinent question?

Secretary Clinton: What I was going to say, Steve, is having been a spouse, having been a candidate, I think spouses take it much harder. You know, in a way-- just as the president said, we're out there. And we're responding minute by minute. And you just don't have time to sit around and, you know, think about what, you know, some insult that you've-- felt you've suffered. I can remember, you know, watching my husband do debates. And I mean, I was like this. And he was relaxed and everything like that. And then when the shoes were on the other feet, all of a sudden, you know, this calm, cool guy who never was upset by anything is all of a sudden watching me. So look, but that is just ancient history now. And it's ancient history because of who-- the kind of people we all are, but also we're professionals.

Steve Kroft: This administration, I mean, you've generally gotten high marks. You've generally gotten very high marks, particularly from the voters for your handling of foreign policy. But there's no big, singular achievement that-- in the first four years-- that you can put your names on. What do you think the biggest success has been, foreign policy success, of the first term?

President Obama: For us to be able to wind down one war, to be on the path of ending a second war, to do that in a way that honors the enormous sacrifices our troops have made, to sustain the pressure on al Qaeda and terrorist organizations so that not only did we avoid a significant terrorist attack on the homeland, but we're able to dismantle the core leadership of al Qaeda. That's all a consequence of the great work that Hillary did and her team did and the State Department did in conjunction with our national security team.

Steve Kroft: What's the, I have to ask you, what's the date of expiration on this endorsement?

Secretary Clinton: Oh, Steve, what-- you know--

Steve Kroft: No, no, I have to ask that question. I mean, come on. You're-- I mean, you're sitting here together. Everybody in town is talking about it already and the inter-- and this is-- it's taking place.

President Obama: You know, Steve, I gotta tell you, the-- you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you're talking about elections four years from now.