Well, this is bound to be awkward.
President Obama and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, are slated to appear together at a private party in Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. But when she took a swipe at his oft-repeated foreign policy slogan in a recent interview, the night probably got a little more complicated.
Not to worry though. According to Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill, the former secretary of state looks forward to “hugging it out” with the president at the party.
How did the kerfuffle get started?
In an interview with The Atlantic published Monday, Clinton said, ”Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
In the same interview, she also asserted that the Obama administration’s “failure” to help Syrian rebels has led to the current rise of ISIS, the militant group aiming to establish a religious caliphate in Iraq.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.
In a statement to ABC News, Merrill said, “While they’ve had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences. … Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”
Clinton, a longtime proponent of early intervention in Syria, “suggested the she finds [the president's] approach to foreign policy overly cautious,” The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg wrote. Many saw this critique as an attempt to distance herself from an increasingly unpopular president in case she decides to make a bid for the White House in 2016.
Clinton called President Obama this morning to let him know she hadn’t intended her comments as an attack, Merrill told ABC News.
The White House has refused to comment. But Obama’s former top aide, David Axelrod, went on offense on Twitter today:
Just to clarify: “Don’t do stupid stuff” means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 12, 2014