WASHINGTON — President Obama lauded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as one of his closest advisers and said their shared vision for America’s role in the world persuaded his one-time rival to be his top diplomat while he dealt with the economy at home.
During a joint interview that aired Sunday on CBS, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton chuckled as they described their partnership and stoked speculation that Mr. Obama may prefer Mrs. Clinton to succeed him in the White House.
Mrs. Clinton is leaving Mr. Obama’s Cabinet soon, and speculation about the former first lady and senator has grown more intense after a heated appearance last week on Capitol Hill.
Both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton batted away questions about future campaigns, but the joint interview — the President’s first with anyone other than First Lady Michelle Obama — was only likely to increase the fascination with Mrs. Clinton’s future.
“The President and I care deeply about what’s going to happen for our country in the future,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And I don’t think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next year.”
Mr. Obama lavished praise on his rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, calling her a friend and an extraordinary talent. He also praised “her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project.”