-- One day before Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her presidential bid, President Obama said today she would make an "excellent president."
"She was a formidable candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president," Obama said at a news conference in Panama.
"When she makes a decision to announce, I'm confident she will be very clear about her vision for the country moving forward if she announces," he added.
The president said he believes that Clinton's role as secretary of state has amply prepared her to "handle herself very well in any conversations and debates around foreign policy.
"If she decides to run, she's going to have some strong messages to deliver," he said.
Asked whether he thinks the Democratic field is wide open, Obama declined to weigh in.
"Not only have I run my last election, but I am not in the business of prognosticating future elections," he said. "That's your job and there is no shortage of people who are happy to opine on that. I will not be one."
Clinton is expected to announce her presidential campaign on social media on Sunday.
During the 2008 election, Obama and Clinton faced off in a brutal primary to decide the Democratic presidential nominee. Obama ultimately secured the nomination and won the presidency, but when he arrived at the White House, he brought Clinton along with him, selecting her as secretary of state and forming a close working relationship.
Since leaving the State Department, Clinton has maintained close ties with the president, visiting him at the White House and staying in contact via e-mail. But Obama has yet to formally say whether he will endorse Clinton.