Vineyard Haven: They may or may not have hugged, but US President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton rubbed shoulders on Wednesday at a party on Martha`s Vineyard after the former secretary of state criticised the foreign policy vision of her one-time boss.
Hillary called Obama on Tuesday to say that her comments to Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the Atlantic magazine, were not meant as an attack on the President. In the Atlantic interview, published on Sunday, Hillary described US policy in Syria as a failure and said Obama`s doctrine of "`don`t do stupid stuff` is not an organising principle" for a great nation.
Her spokesman said Hillary, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, looked forward to "hugging it out" with Obama when the two attended the Wednesday evening party given by mutual friend and Washington power broker Vernon Jordan on the Massachusetts island, where the Obamas are vacationing.
Hillary was on the island to promote her book, "Hard Choices”, a memoir of her time as the nation`s top diplomat under Obama, who picked her for the post after besting her for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Speaking to reporters before signing books on Wednesday afternoon, Hillary said she was "absolutely" looking forward to hugging it out with the president and said they both were committed to US values and security interests.
"We have disagreements as any partners and friends, as we are, might very well have," Hillary said.
"But I`m proud ... that I served with him and for him, and I`m looking forward to seeing him tonight."
Obama and his wife, Michelle, were seated together with Hillary and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, at the birthday celebration for Ann Jordan, Vernon Jordan`s wife, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
The event was held at the Farm Neck Golf Club, not the Jordans` home, as the White House had said previously.
Schultz declined to comment on whether Hillary and Obama hugged but said they were glad to have the chance to spend time together.
"The Obamas danced nearly every song," he said.
The White House has played down suggestions of tension between Obama and Hillary, although some Obama aides privately expressed annoyance over her words.
Obama and Hillary developed a rapport during her time in the administration. Schultz said earlier on Wednesday the two leaders were "very close friends" who stayed in touch regularly, in person and by telephone.
"They continue to agree on a broad majority of issues confronting our country, even if they have the occasional policy difference," Schultz told reporters at a midday briefing.
"The President appreciates her counsel and advice, but more importantly he appreciates her friendship and that`s why he`s looking forward to seeing her this evening."
Both the President and his former rival have good reason to maintain a positive relationship.
For Hillary, Obama`s network of fundraisers and political strength with key Democratic constituencies, including blacks and gays, are assets she would like to inherit if she runs for president in 2016.
For Obama, protecting his legacy will involve ensuring that a Democrat such as Hillary replaces him in the White House and keeps laws including the healthcare overhaul and financial regulatory reform on the books.