President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Obamas to break ground Tuesday on presidential center in Chicago A simple fix can bring revolutionary change to health spending MORE said Saturday he learned that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE exclusively used a private email account during her tenure as secretary of State "the same time everybody else learned it through news reports."
Asked whether he was disappointed in the news, revealed publicly by The New York Times earlier this week, Obama instead praised Clinton in an interview with CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante that aired Saturday evening.
"Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of State for me," Obama said in the interview that occurred after his speech in Selma, Ala., according to a transcript provided by CBS.
"The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails – the Blackberry I carry around – all those records are available and archived, and I'm glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed," Obama said.
Clinton's use of a private email account during her four years as secretary of State, from 2009-2013, dominated news this week, with a growing number of questions over the security of her account and whether it lined up with administrative policy, including White House guidance and State rules.
It has also struck concerns over transparency as Clinton moves toward launching a presidential bid.
The White House carefully avoided criticizing Clinton this week while also maintaining that Obama has held a "very strong" policy that official business be conducted on government, not private, email.
Obama acknowledged to CBS his longtime position of operating the most transparent administration in history.
Clinton this week tweeted that she wanted the State Department to publicly release the about 55,000 pages of documents from self-selected emails that her aides turned over to the department for archiving.
State acknowledged asking Clinton for the emails in part because it was responding to a records request from the House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, according to reports.
Following the Times report on Tuesday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued subpoenas for Clinton's emails.