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POLITICS: PennAve

After Syria remarks, Obama and Hillary Clinton to attend party on Martha's Vineyard

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Hillary Clinton,2016 Elections,National Security,Syria,Campaigns,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Foreign Policy

President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be forced to rub shoulders and make small talk Wednesday night at a party on Martha’s Vineyard.

The White House says Obama is looking forward to spending time with Clinton at a party for Ann Jordan, the wife of former Bill Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan.

"The president and first lady have accepted an offer to attend a social gathering at the home of Vernon Jordan on Wednesday evening,” said White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz. “The president and first lady are very much looking forward to the occasion and seeing Former Secretary Clinton.”

Normally such an encounter wouldn’t be difficult. The two have met and had lunch several times since Clinton stepped down as secretary of state last year.

During most of that time, Clinton has regularly defended Obama’s policy decisions.

But over the last few months as she has been weighing a likely presidential run, Clinton has started to create some sunlight between herself and the president, most notably and most recently on his handling of Syria and his overall approach to his foreign policy decision-making.

In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg published over the weekend, Clinton was harshly critical, describing the philosophy that guides Obama's actions abroad as overly broad and simplistic.

“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” she said. “It may be a necessary brake on the actions you might take in order to promote a vision.”

She also called Obama’s decision not to intervene in Syria’s civil war “a failure.”

Clinton went on to say that Obama is “thoughtful” and “incredibly smart,” though she described his foreign policy as “cautious.”

After the media seized on the remarks, Clinton reportedly felt compelled to call Obama on Tuesday to clarify the comments and to let him know they weren’t meant as an attack on his policies or his leadership.

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Susan Crabtree

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

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