Clinton in Tunisia: Obama will be re-elected

By David Jackson | USA Today | February 26, 2012

Hillary Clinton and Barack ObamaSecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton morphed from diplomat to politician during an overseas appearance Saturday, telling a group of Arab students in Tunisia that President Obama will serve four more years.

"He will be re-elected president," Clinton said. "I think that will be a very clear signal to the entire world as to what our values are and what our president believes."

Clinton responded to a question from the audience about the pro-Israel stance from most political candidates of both parties.

Part of her message to the Arab students: Don't believe everything you hear in an American political campaign.

"You will learn as your democracy develops that a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention," Clinton said. "There are comments made that certainly don't reflect the United States, don't reflect our foreign policy, don't reflect who we are as a people."

She also told the students: "If you go to the United States you see mosques everywhere, you see Muslim Americans everywhere. That's the fact. So I would no pay attention to the rhetoric."

It's unusual for any diplomat to talk politics during an appearance in a foreign country.

During an interview on CNN, Clinton -- the former first lady who lost to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries -- noted she was responding to a question from the audience.

"I was asked whether the comments in the primary campaign, some of which have been quite inflammatory, represented America," she said. "I represent America."

Clinton added that "probably my enthusiasm for the president got a little out of hand," but she defended them as appropriate.

"I know what happens in campaigns," Clinton said. "I've been there, done that, and I know that things are said that are not going to be put into practice or policy. I did think I needed to point that out to the audience."