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Washington Post: Clinton’s demeanor was deferential on ‘60 Minutes’

Published: Friday, Feb. 1 2013 9:19 a.m. MST

President Barack Obama, center, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speak with "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft, left, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. The interview will air Sunday, Jan. 27 during the "60 Minutes" telecast on CBS.

Associated Press

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Our take: President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered high praise of each other during their "60 Minutes" interview Sunday. Jane Falk from The Washington Post analyzes their words and actions during the interview.

"Doth they protest too much? In their '60 Minutes' interview, which aired Sunday, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waxed poetic about their relationship: 'a great collaboration,' 'a friendship as opposed to just a professional relationship,' said Obama; 'very warm, close, a sense of understanding that sometimes doesnt even take words,' said Clinton.

"To hear their responses, the interview was a veritable love fest. But words are not the only way in which people convey meaning. Every interaction includes 'meta messages' through nonverbal behaviors such as body language. These unconscious signals may not correspond with the verbal messages. In the Clinton-Obama interview, it was clear that the two like each other and that their minds were in accord. But they also conveyed that they are not equals and the signs of intimacy that accompany close friendship were absent.

"Metalinguistics is not an exact science. But it helps us understand the meaning of such behavior. By not answering first and never disagreeing with Obama, Clinton and her posture bespoke total involvement. It's no wonder he likes her so much. Clinton projected herself as a loyal soldier and team player who didn't hold a grudge. Nothing she said or did indicated that she was her own person, which may suggest why she didn't leave her own stamp on her office. Notably, Obama did not give her sole credit for any achievement, always mentioning the team. Absent were kudos to her as a leader."

Read more about Clinton and Obama on Washington Post.

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