WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted Thursday that she maintains good relations with President Barack Obama, despite media speculation about tension between the one-time campaign rivals.
"I feel very honored and positive about my working relationship with the White House and my personal relationship with President Obama," Clinton said in response to questions during a news conference.
"I have been consistently involved in the shaping and implementation of our foreign policy," she said.
Clinton was responding to reporters' questions after renewed media speculation about relations between the two, who were bitter rivals for their party's presidential nomination last year.
Clinton was forced to miss recent major foreign policy events, including Obama's trip to the G8 summit and to Russia, after she fractured her elbow, but she returned to the scene with a major foreign policy speech on Wednesday.
"I broke my elbow, not my larynx," she told reporters. "I think I am just going to do the work and make the contribution."
Despite Clinton's insistence, speculation about tension in relations was sparked by her decision to miss the Russia and G8 trips and sharp comments she has made criticizing the failure to fill open posts at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Clinton told agency employees that she was frustrated by the slow pace of nominations for top posts there and appeared to criticize the background checks required for candidates to qualify for the positions.
At the White House on Wednesday, reporters asked Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs to respond to reports of rising tension between the former campaign opponents.
"They enjoy a very close relationship," he said. "I think the secretary of state is somebody who the president relies on greatly."
"I think the notion that there's some rift or disagreement is . . . nothing more than silly Washington games," Gibbs said.
© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.