President Obama Does Not Want to Talk About 2016

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On Sunday night, 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft sat down with President Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, neither of whom seem very interested in talking about the next election. If anything, it was a feel-good 30-minutes of chatting --  and a rare sight to see the two politicians in a joint interview. Niceties were exchanged, heads nodded, hands crossed. Barack wore blue. Hillary wore pink. And neither of them dared say a word about the next election.

That doesn't mean Kroft didn't ask. Pivoting gracefully on the president's praise for Hillary, Kroft asked, "What's the expiration on this endorsement." You can almost  hear the sound of Obama's internet eye-rolling. "You know, Steve, I gotta tell you, the -- you guys in the press are incorrigible," said the president, whose vice president is eyeing the nomination. "I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you're talking about elections four years from now."

So Kroft turns to Clinton. "Yeah, and I am, as you know, Steve, I am still secretary of state," said Clinton. "So I'm out of politics. And I'm forbidden from even hearing these questions." She could've just said, "Yeah, and I am, as you know, Steve, I am not running for office in 2016. I've said that several times now, okay?" Or, of course, she could've announced her candidacy! (Highly unlikely.) That would've been bad timing, though, because what followed were a bunch of somewhat serious questions about her Benghazi testimony -- She "deeply regrets what happened" -- and her health -- "It's great."

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The rest of the chat goes about as you might expect. Obama talked about how much he admired Hillary during the primary campaign, and Hillary guffawed about how she tried to turn down the president's job offer. Obama talked about how the world is "big and chaotic" and "dangerous." Clinton reminded everyone, "We're on the side of freedom." It was all very patriotic and appropriate and expected. It's nice to see a couple of powerful political leaders pat each other on the back sometimes, but do go over thinking anything they say. When Kroft asked at the beginning of the interview if there were any political tea leaves to be read into what they were saying, Hillary chimed right in, "We don't have any tea. We've got some water here is the best I can tell."

Part One

Part Two

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.