Secretary of State Clinton dismissed suggestions that the Nobel Peace Prize would hamper President Obama's ability to make a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan.
Immediately after Obama received notice on Friday that he had won the award, the political chattering class began to speculate as to what it would mean for the president's domestic and international policy priorities -— especially its strategy in Afghanistan, which Obama has been retooling for quite some time. But in an interview with the "Today" show taped in Switzerland, Clinton stressed Obama would make the decision "on the merits," regardless of his unexpected award.
"His willingness to really kind of challenge everyone to kind of step up and take responsibility restores a kind of image and appreciation of our country," Clinton said. "It's not going to influence the tough decisions he has to make, and I think he's well-aware of the multiple responsibilities he bears."
Obama and his team this week will continue re-evaluating whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan. So far, White House officials have not announced when he will announce his new strategy.
But the secretary of State on Monday also cleared any doubt that she was being marginalized from those conversations. She instead refuted speculation that she was at odds with the president as "absurd."
"Maybe there is some misunderstanding that needs to be clarified: I believe in delegating power. I'm not one of these people who feels like I need to have my face on the front of the newspaper or on the TV every moment of the day," Clinton said.
"I would be irresponsible and negligent were I [to say], 'Oh, no, everything should come to me,' " the secretary added. "Now, maybe that is a woman's thing; maybe I'm totally secure and feel absolutely no need to go running around in order [for] people to see what I'm doing. It's just the way I am."
Interestingly enough, Clinton concluded her interview by reiterating she did not plan to run for the presidency again. "This is a great job, it is a 24/7 job, and I'm looking forward to retirement at some point," she said.