On Friday, The New York Times tackled one of the most intriguing political relationships in Washington-- the odd pairing of bitter campaign rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The Times' Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, conducting multiple interviews, relate how the two have fallen into a committed, if at times stilted, partnership; Secretary of State Clinton is punctilious about making it to their weekly meetings, while Obama has sided with her on one or two controversial decisions. Their relationship may not be as close as that of former presidents and their secretaries of state, Landler and Cooper suggest, but the two get along just fine, work hard at the partnership, and shared their first moment of unscripted collaboration at the December climate change summit in Copenhagen.
So all's well? Commentators are divided on whether the profile actually paints a picture of administrative bliss:
- See? Don't Believe Conventional Wisdom, says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice. He says the report "again points out the flaws" of the sort of Washington consensus saying "the Obama-Clinton relationship would never work."
- Times Folks 'Lay It On Real Thick,' But the Team's Still Awful, thinks conservative Commentary's Abe Greenwald. "When they joined forces it was like two bad tastes that go bad together. Over a year into this administration, all we have to show on the diplomacy front is presidential pledges of global empathy and a lot exotic teatime."
- She Postponed a Visit to Her Sick Husband? New York Magazine's Dan Amira's fixated on this detail. Apparently Hillary Clinton, notified that her husband was in the hospital with heart problems, made it to her meeting with the president before heading to the hospital.
- 'Clinton's Place' Still Unclear "Under a glowing headline [and] warm picture of Clinton," translates Politico's Ben Smith, "the Times paints a tepid--and still murky--picture today:" He calls the question of how much influence Clinton really has "one of the administration's abiding mysteries."
- What Is This? "President Obama and the other president, Hillary Rodham Clinton," responds Sara Smith at ever-snarky Wonkette, "have forged a strong partnership in spite of their bruising campaign battle because maybe both are adults or something?"