Obama and Hillary: The rivalry returns

Some Clinton allies were thrilled that she was so upfront. “I loved it,” emailed one Clinton supporter.

Another described it as a “a trial balloon for the authentic Hillary. And if the Democrats won’t accept that then fine — maybe she won’t run.”

Through it all, Clinton’s aides stayed mum when asked to clarify the comments, or to explain the backstory of the interview, saying only that it was part of her book tour and that Goldberg had been a long-planned target.

But Clinton’s decision to call Obama on Tuesday underscored that her comments in the interview were not a planned attack — though at no point did the statement mentioning her outreach to the president suggest she was backing away from the substance of her remarks.