State of the Union address - AFP - January 24, 2012
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with President Obama, January 24, 2012. Photo by AFP
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President Barack Obama says Hillary Clinton would be a very effective president if she decides to run.

Obama says in a television interview that he and Clinton are "buddies" and he's long admired her.

They fought in the long-running 2008 primary for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Obama says she couldn't have been more effective and loyal as his secretary of state.

The president says he's been blessed to have her work for him, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his chief of staff Denis McDonough.

The president's comments are in an interview taped Thursday, the same day he and Clinton had a private lunch at the White House. His interview was broadcast Friday on the talk show "Live! With Kelly and Michael."