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President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. / Jacquelyn Martin, AP

President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton -- embroiled in a political flap over foreign policy -- did indeed make nice when they met Wednesday, though only about 150 private party goers saw it.

Aides who had said that Obama and his ex-secretary of State planned to "hug it out" confirmed that they both attended the same party Wednesday night on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., though it was closed to the press.

"A good time was had by all," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

In fact, he said, Obama and Clinton and their spouses -- first lady Michelle Obama and ex-President Bill Clinton -- sat at the same table with the hosts, mutual friends Ann and Vernon Jordan. The menu included surf and turf and pasta.

"The President and First Lady also were happy to have the chance to spend time with Secretary Clinton and former President Clinton," Schultz said.

No word on whether there were any actual hugs.

The face-to-face came days after Clinton criticized aspects of the administration's foreign policy and one day after she called Obama to try and smooth things over.

Aides in both camps said Obama and Clinton have honest disagreements on some issues - particularly Syria - but are in general accord on the direction of foreign policy.

"The president appreciates her counsel and advice," Schultz said before the party "But, more importantly, he appreciates her friendship, and that's why he's looking forward to seeing her this evening."

After Clinton called Obama on Tuesday, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said she was proud to work for the president and, "like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when they see each other."

Asked during a book signing Wednesday in Martha's Vineyard whether she would indeed hug it out with out with the president, Clinton said: "Absolutely."

In an article posted by The Atlantic, Clinton criticized the administration's refusal to arm rebels against Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria early on and said that decision may have contributed to the rise of a militant army that has now swept across parts of Syria and Iraq.

"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad - there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle - the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," Clinton told The Atlantic.

Clinton is considering a run for the presidency in 2016, and foreign policy is likely to be a major issue.

She also questioned Obama's statement that his foreign policy philosophy includes the maxim, "don't do stupid stuff." Clinton told The Atlantic that "great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

White House officials had little to say publicly about Clinton's comments. But longtime political adviser David Axelrod posted a tweet Tuesday that appeared to be a response.

"Just to clarify," Axelrod wrote. "'Don't do stupid stuff' means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision."

On Wednesday, Schultz said the phrase does not constitute Obama's foreign policy.

Obama has said he will confront any threat to the national security of the United States and is willing to use the military if necessary. He has also said that military force should not be the only option, and that the United States can apply economic and diplomatic power in global affairs.

As for Syria, Schultz said Obama did not want to rush into assistance to rebels in Syria because some of the weapons could have wound up with the kinds of jihadists who are now threatening Iraq.

There may be no photos of the highly anticipated Obama-Clinton hug, however.

The White House had said earlier in the day there would be no press access to the event, a birthday party for Ann Jordan (wife of long-time Clinton associate Vernon Jordan).

"I believe the president and Secretary Clinton have had many hugs over the past few years," Schultz joked. "I suspect many of them have been caught on camera."

After the event at Farm Neck Golf Club, Obama toasted Ann Jordan's birthday by saying he met Vernon first, "but liked Ann more," Schultz said.

He added that "the President and First Lady have known the Jordans for over twenty years, and were grateful to have been able to share this special evening with them."

Mrs. Clinton also toasted Mrs. Jordan.

??Merrill said Clinton is a strong supporter of the administration and "was proud to be his partner in the project of restoring American leadership and advancing America's interests and values in a fast-changing world."

Obama and his family are vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.

Clinton, author of a book about her State Department years called Hard Choices, was on the island Wednesday for a book signing.

Aides who had said the president and his ex-secretary of State planned to "hug it out" confirmed that they both attended the same party Wednesday night on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., though it was closed to the press.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Obama, Clinton break bread at private party

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