President Barack Obama says Hillary Rodham Clinton will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state the nation has ever seen. He tells this to Steve Kroft with Clinton sitting beside him in the Blue Room of the White House, in their first joint interview conducted today for broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
The joint interview is the only U.S. interview the president has ever given with anyone other than his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.
The following excerpt was broadcast tonight on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
Kroft: Why did you want to do this together, a joint interview?
President Obama: Well, the main thing is I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you, because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we've had. It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I'm going to miss her, wish she was sticking around but she has logged in so many miles I can't begrudge her wanting to take it easy for a little bit. But I want the country to appreciate what an extraordinary role she's played during the course of my administration. A lot of the successes we've had internationally have been because of her hard work.
Secretary Clinton: A few years ago it would have been seen as improbable because we had that very long, hard primary campaign. But, you know, I've gone around the world on behalf of the president and our country, and one of the things that I say to people, because I think it helps them understand, I say look, in politics and in democracy, sometimes you win elections and sometimes you lose elections. And I worked very hard but I lost. And then President Obama asked me to be secretary of state and I said yes. And why did he ask me and why did I say yes? Because we both love our country.