President Barack Obama met for the first time with Hillary Clinton since both have faced questions over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account and server while she served as his secretary of state.
“President Obama and Secretary Clinton enjoy catching-up in person when their schedules permit,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, said in an e-mailed statement. “This afternoon they met privately for about an hour at the White House and discussed a range of topics.”
Earnest didn’t elaborate on the Monday meeting at the White House. Nick Merrill, Clinton’s spokesman, directed questions to the Obama administration.
If she declares as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton will have to decide how closely she wants to align herself with Obama in a general election campaign. While Obama still has strong support among Democratic voters, his approval rating from the general public has remained largely stuck at less than 50 percent for the past two years in Gallup’s daily tracking poll.
Clinton tweeted a photo of herself embracing Obama on Monday about the same time as Earnest’s statement confirming the meeting. It hailed the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.
“Pre-existing conditions. Women get better coverage,” it read in part. “Repeal those things? Embrace them!”
She also has been using Twitter to express support for a number of policy positions that align with Obama, such as making higher education more affordable.
Clinton was in Washington Monday to talk about income inequality in cities at the Democrat-aligned Center for American Progress and to deliver a keynote speech at a ceremony for the Toner Prize for political reporting.
Both Clinton and Obama’s administration have faced weeks of questioning over Clinton’s exclusive use of private e-mail as secretary of state. The Republican chairman of a U.S. House panel investigating the 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, is asking Clinton to decide by April 3 whether to turn over her private e-mail server to an outside arbiter.