Bob Franken: The warm and fuzzy Barack and Hillary interview
Will somebody please tell me what that Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama joint interview — no, make that love-fest — on “60 Minutes” was about? The two of them were almost giggling as they talked about their relationship with a somewhat-incredulous Steve Kroft. The best he could get for an explanation was Obama’s “I just wanted to publicly have a chance to say thank you.” If you believe that was all this was about, I would like to sell you a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.
That, of course, is in the White House, which, according to widespread speculation, is where Hillary would like to take up residence in four years, this time as chief executive, as opposed to “wife of.”
Speaking of Bill Clinton, one couldn’t help but remember that Hillary has done a joint “60 Minutes” interview with Kroft before. It was back in 1992, when she was sitting by her man Bill as he campaigned for the presidency and we were getting our first insights into his carnal exploits. He ultimately became POTUS for eight years, and she was FLOTUS for that wild ride.
We’ve come a long way, and so has she. Now she’s leaving her gig as Obama’s first secretary of state, and Mr. Obama has said he wanted this interview as a wet kiss for the same woman with whom he brawled during the 2008 primaries, each slugging it out for the nomination he finally won.
Maybe they truly did want to show off what soon-to-be-former Secretary Clinton called a display of how, in the United States, political rivals, even intense ones, can move on and work together, “because we both love our country.”
It’s been quite a ride for her, not just the past few years, but even the past few weeks. She seems to be well on her way to a full recovery after that nasty concussion and blood clot suffered in the aftermath of a fall. The crazies were openly speculating about whether she just faked her injuries to avoid testifying before Congress and being skewered about the Benghazi tragedy.
While she acknowledges that there are still lingering physical effects, she certainly seems to have healed, at least well enough to do some skewering of her own. When tea party Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican from Wisconsin, tried to take her on, Johnson — whose slogan before 2011 might have been “used to be I couldn’t spell ‘senator,’ now I are one” — could only sit there with his deer-in-the-headlights expression as she pounded the table while chewing him up and spitting him out.
Was that the real start of her 2016 campaign, as she pushes to be the next presidential “first,” following Barack Obama’s racial groundbreaking? Actually, if she ran and won, she’d be a first twice, since she’d be the first woman to hold the office and first former first lady. Come to think of it, that’s three firsts.
Was this some sort of endorsement by Obama, asked Kroft, wondering whether this gushing “had an expiration date”? The president dismissed that question with, “You guys in the press are incorrigible.” To get really incorrigible, let’s wonder what Joe Biden was thinking of Barack-Hillary as BFFs. He’s certainly not discouraging the speculation that he too might run again.
Maybe, to keep things from being real frosty during their regular White House lunches, we soon will see a joint Obama-Biden appearance, where we can watch to see if Kroft or the president can get a word in edgewise.
“60 Minutes,” of course, does amazing hard-hitting journalism, but it also does wonderful puff pieces. This was one of those, and maybe there are more to come. Perhaps in four years, we will see another joint interview. This one could feature President Hillary Clinton and first gentleman Bill.
Bob Franken is a former CNN correspondent. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.