His decision to appoint Clinton as the Secretary of State was one of his better decisions, the US President has said. Obama who made a rare appearance at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department to attend the holiday reception party hosted by the Washington's vibrant diplomatic community by Clinton said, "I think there's a consensus building that this may be one of the best Secretaries of State we've ever had in this country's history." "One of my better decisions," he said amidst laughter.
"It is a bipartisan view, by the way. That doesn't happen very often," Obama said about Clinton, who till early 2008 was one of his bitter political rivals.
Clinton is relentless, is tough and does not quit, Obama said adding, "She recently pulled off what one journalist called "a Central Asian hat trick" - she went to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan -- and then she threw in as a bonus, Bahrain."
"Because of the time differences, she was able to accomplish this all in one day," he said.
She recently cautioned foreign publics against watching too much American TV, because, she said, you'd think that we Americans spend all our time "wrestling and wearing bikinis," Obama said amidst another round of laughter from the diplomatic corps.
"So, thank you, Secretary Clinton, for your leadership, for your sense of humour, for your incredible dedication to our national security -- more broadly, your incredible dedication to a world that's more peaceful and secure and provides opportunity for all," he said.
Obama also appreciated the extraordinary role of the State Department employees for the tireless work they do. "You are the backbone of American foreign policy, especially those of you who are serving far away from home during the holidays," he said.
"Day in, day out, you strengthen our alliances. You forge new partnerships. You prevent conflicts and the spread of deadly weapons. You promote global prosperity and global health. You stand up for human rights and you stand up for universal values. In other words, you show the world the very best of America. On behalf of the American people, I want to say thank you. You are doing an extraordinary job," Obama said.
Image: US President Barack Obama walks with Hillary Clinton at a reception for diplomats in Washington, DC on Monday Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters