An MSNBC panel of reporters were equal parts amused and perplexed at Hillary Clinton’s promise to “hug it out” with President Obama following her criticism of his foreign policy, with Andrea Mitchell calling it “so awkward.”
Mitchell spoke with The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Bloomberg’s Jeanne Cummings about the former secretary of state’s Sunday attack on the White House’s listless foreign policy and her backtrack early this week.
Clinton will meet Obama at Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday night to assure the president her criticism was not directed at him — with a spokesman claiming “she looks forward to hugging it out” with her former boss.
“This is SO awkward,” the MSNBC host began. “I mean, she’s trying to distance herself a little bit, but did she go to far? And then [former Obama advisor] David Axelrod, with a tweet, made it even more pointed. And now the apology.”
“Well, here’s the thing,” Cillizza replied. “I get that she’s trying to distance herself — particularly on some of the things that she did have legitimate disagreements with the president on. We know that on certain decisions made by this president, Hillary Clinton was on the more hawkish side of things. That’s not a secret.”
“So distancing herself makes sense because it’s relatively consistent with what we know about her time as secretary of state,” he explained. “And it makes sense because she wants to get a little bit of distance from an unpopular president.”
“Here’s the thing,” Cillizza went on. “Don’t do it and then try to undo it by putting out a statement saying you weren’t trying to do it! Of course she was trying to do it. She used the phrase, ‘Don’t do [stupid stuff]‘ phrase for a reason! That’s very closely tied to President Obama.”
“So the idea that what she said in the interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic wasn’t meant – not as an implicit, but as an explicit — criticism of what President Obama is doing in some theaters of the world is frankly ridiculous,” the Post reporter concluded.