President Barack Obama during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday said that Hillary Clinton “made a mistake” by using a private email server while secretary of state, but said he does not think it posed a national security threat.
“And, you know, she made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that – the way it’s been ginned-up – is in part– because of politics,” Obama told CBS host Steve Kroft, adding that he’ll ”leave it to Hillary” to answer questions about her emails.
The president also fielded questions about Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and potential 2016 candidate Vice President Joe Biden.
When asked what he thinks of Trump, who is still holding his lead among Republicans, Obama told Kroft that the business mogul is a “great publicity-seeker” and “the classic reality TV character” able to garner attention.
Pressed further to answer whether Trump might run out of steam, Obama said he’ll “leave it up to the pundits” to determine that one. He did add, however: “I don’t think he’ll end up being president of the United States.”
Obama also wouldn’t say if he thinks Biden should run for president. “I am going to let Joe make that decision,” he said.
The president said Biden will be known as one of the best vice presidents, and it is natural for him to consider running for president.
“If you’re sitting right next to the president in every meeting and, you know — wrestling with these issues, I’m sure that for him he’s saying to himself, ‘I could do a really good job,’” Obama said.
The president was more willing to speak about his foreign policy and the crisis in Syria. He said getting rid of ISIS in the region will take time and require the support of local populations and primarily a regime change in Syria.
“The solution that we’re going to have inside of Syria is ultimately going to depend not on the United States putting in a bunch of troops there,” Obama said. “Resolving the underlying crisis is going to be something that requires ultimately the key players there to recognize that there has to be a transition to new government.”
Obama admitted that the United States’ attempt to train a moderate opposition force did not work, but he said Russia’s strategy of supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not threatening his leadership or the position of the United States.
“If you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in, in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership,” Obama said.
He recognized that there are some who think the country needs to send in troops to establish strength, but he strongly disagrees.
“If we make that mistake again, then shame on us,” Obama said.