By Julian Pecquet - 01/26/13 01:38 AM EST
President Obama calls Hillary Clinton “one of the finest secretaries of State we've had” in a rare joint interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" scheduled to run Sunday.
Obama took a rare gamble when he named his main primary opponent for the high-profile Cabinet position. Clinton has been a loyal ally, however, and has received bipartisan praise for her tireless travels around the world, marred recently by the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
“The main thing is I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say 'thank you,' because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretaries of State we've had,” Obama told CBS in a clip released by the network. “It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I'm going to miss her, wish she was sticking around, but she has logged in so many miles I can't begrudge her wanting to take it easy for a little bit. But I want the country to appreciate what an extraordinary role she's played during the course of my administration. A lot of the successes we've had internationally have been because of her hard work.”
“A few years ago it would have been seen as improbable because we had that very long, hard primary campaign,” Clinton told CBS. “But, you know, I've gone around the world on behalf of the president and our country, and one of the things that I say to people, because I think it helps them understand, I say 'look, in politics and in democracy, sometimes you win elections and sometimes you lose elections.'
“And I worked very hard but I lost. And then President Obama asked me to be secretary of State and I said 'yes.' And why did he ask me and why did I say yes? Because we both love our country.”
CBS says the exclusive is the president's first joint U.S interview with someone other than his wife. Obama previously sat down alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the margins of the G20 summit in Cannes in November 2011.