"You know, we don't go vacationing together. I think that I've got a pretty clear-eyed sense of both her strengths and her weaknesses." Thus begins President Obama's assessment of his former secretary of state and potential successor, given in an interview with CBS News. Clinton "knows as much about domestic and foreign policy as anybody, is tough as nails, is motivated by what's best for America and ordinary people, understands that in this democracy ... things don't always happen as fast as we'd like. And it requires compromise and grinding it out." He continues: "She's not always flashy. And there are better speech makers. But she knows her stuff. And more than anything, that is what is ultimately required to do a good job in this office." Other highlights from the interview, via the AP:
- On Donald Trump's suggestion that he wouldn't honor all NATO alliances: It's "an indication of the lack of preparedness that he has been displaying when it comes to foreign policy. There is a big difference between challenging our European allies to keep up their defense spending ... and saying to them, 'You know what? We might not abide by the central tenet of the most important alliance in the history of the world.'"
- On what it takes to be an effective president: The ability to build a team of talented, hardworking people and "make sure they are all moving in the same direction." The "personal discipline in terms of doing your homework, and knowing your subject matter, and being able to stay focused." And to make all this work "you have to really care about the American people... not in the abstract." Without that grounding, "you will be buffeted and blown back and forth by polls and interest groups and voices whispering in your head. And you will lose your center of gravity. You will lose your moral compass."
- On whether most Americans feel safe: It's been "a really tough month," but Americans "are significantly more safe now than they were before all the work that we've done since 9/11."
- On race relations: Additional scrutiny or suspicion of African-American males is "just a common experience that many of us share. But I will tell you that it's a lot better now than it was. And that doesn't mean that we can be complacent about it."
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