Tony Blair: Princess Diana a 'Meteor' in the Royal 'Ecosystem'

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The three-term prime minister praised Clinton "as one of the smartest politicians I've come across," and expressed confidence in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading the Middle East peace negotiations.

Clinton's two-term presidency was almost derailed because of his affair with Monica Lewinsky, an indiscretion that Blair wrote, "arose in part from his inordinate interest in and curiosity about people."

"Part of his genius [as] a politician is he is extraordinarily curious about people," Blair said today, adding that Clinton fared well through all the criticism.

"I came across him in some of the worst parts of all them impeachment business. I was talking earlier about the right get after you. Well, they were after him. And his ability somehow to refocus on the job and get it done," Blair said.

Blair also praised Hillary Clinton's negotiating skills, saying he is certain the secretary of state can confront all the challenges she is facing when it comes to international diplomacy.

"There is a lot on her shoulders. But she's completely capable of doing it," he said. "She's got the best type of political mind that knows where you meet the point of principle and knows where you need the subtlety and the compromise."

Blair is scheduled to receive the 2010 Liberty Medal from former President Clinton in Philadelphia on Sept. 13.

The former prime minister also sheds light on other American leaders, including former Vice President Dick Cheney who Blair says was "absolutely hard-line" when it came to matters of war.

"He thought the world had to be made anew and that after September 11th it had to be done with force and urgency," Blair writes in his book.

Bush, Blair said, was "straightforward and good to deal with."

"It's easy to mock that simplicity. And it's easy to ignore the strength that sometimes comes with that. And a decision like the surge in Iraq, you know, I can't think of many people who would have had the courage to take that decision in the way that he did," Blair said.

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