Hillary Clinton’s ‘awkward first date’ moment with Obama, and five other tidbits from her memoir


Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton describes a secret meeting she had with President Obama before the 2008 Democratic National Convention as akin to "two teenagers on an awkward first date," according to a CBS News report about the contents of her forthcoming book.

CBS News obtained an early copy of the book, "Hard Choices," which is set to be release June 10.  In it Clinton details her tenure as secretary of state as well as some thoughts on the historic 2008 Democratic campaign against Obama, then an Illinois senator.

"We stared at each other like two teenagers on an awkward first date," Clinton writes of her covert meeting with Obama, "taking a few sips of Chardonnay. ... both Barack and I and our staffs had long lists of grievances. It was time to clear the air. ... One silver lining of defeat was that I came out of the experience realizing I no longer cared so much about what the critics said about me," Clinton writes.

Here's a rundown of other notable tidbits from the book that CBS News reported:

1. Clinton disagreed with Obama on Syria. Clinton says she was "reasonably confident that if we decided to begin arming and training moderate Syrian rebels, we could put in place effective coordination with our regional partners." Obama disagreed, but Clinton says there were no hard feelings. "No one likes to lose a debate, including me. But this was the President's call and I respected his deliberations and decision," she writes.

2. Anticipating Bergdahl blowback. Clinton says she recognized that striking an agreement with the Taliban to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could prompt criticism back home. She writes that she "acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war."

3. Attack Sarah Palin? No thanks. Clinton says she refused to immediately attack Palin when she was tapped as Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008, despite the urging of the Obama campaign. "I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman appealing for support from other women. I didn't think it made political sense, and it didn't feel right," she writes.

4. A "thin-skinned" Putin. The former secretary of state describes Russian President Vladimir Putin as "thin-skinned" and "autocratic, resenting criticism and eventually cracking down on dissent and debate." She also rejects the notion that NATO expansion is to blame for Russia's increasing aggression.

5. Clinton kept Condoleezza Rice's driver. Clinton notes that she kept her predecessor's driver at her request.  "I agreed and soon became as dependent on him as Condi had been. ... Her advice about what I should expect in my new role proved very helpful," Clinton writes.

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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