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Obama, Clinton Camps Move To Downplay Schism

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WASHINGTON — For months now, political junkies and the national press corps have been salivating over the prospects of Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama once again applying proverbial chokeholds to each other.

Conflict seemed inevitable since she — contemplating a presidential run — needed distance from him — wallowing in some of his lowest approval ratings on matters of foreign policy. After a few instances of apparent friction passed without much of a stir, the flames finally erupted over the weekend.

Interviews by the president and his former secretary of state put them at odds over (at least) two matters — one specific, the other expansive. Clinton told The Atlantic Magazine that the failure of the U.S. to arm the moderate rebels in Syria had left a vacuum that Islamic State extremists had filled. Obama, meanwhile, told The New York Times that it was absurd revisionism to think that sending arms would have changed the course of the Syrian revolution. The president, in that interview, defended a foreign policy based on prudence, planning, and caution. Clinton, meanwhile, derided the Obama-themed tag line, “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” as insufficient and uninspiring as an organizing principle.

And there you had it: Enough fodder for Republican trolling, liberal hair-pulling,intra-camp sniping, and a provocative, umbrage-heavy tweet from David Axelrod, Obama’s longtime counsel.

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