WASHINGTON — On a snowy Thursday shortly before her weekly meeting with President Obama last month, Hillary Rodham Clinton got a distressing phone call: her husband, Bill Clinton, was in a hospital with chest pains and needed an urgent heart procedure.
Mrs. Clinton kept her appointment with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office, taking her customary seat on the yellow sofa as the two talked about her coming trip to the Persian Gulf, where she planned to turn up the heat on Iran over its nuclear program.
“No one had any idea” that she might have had a personal worry, said a senior White House official who was present. Afterward, Mrs. Clinton raced for a shuttle flight to New York to see her husband.
But the fact that she first spent 45 minutes plotting Iran strategy with the man who beat her in a divisive primary campaign shows just how far Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have come since the bitter spring of 2008, when he sniped that her foreign-policy credentials consisted of sipping tea with world leaders, and she scoffed that his consisted of living in Indonesia when he was 10.
Sixteen months after Mr. Obama surprised nearly everyone by picking her as secretary of state, the two have again surprised nearly everyone by forging a credible partnership. Mrs. Clinton has proved to be an eager team player, a tireless defender of the administration, ever deferential to Mr. Obama and careful to ensure that her husband, the former president, does not upstage her boss.
Mr. Obama has been solicitous of Mrs. Clinton, yielding to her at times in internal debates, even showing signs of adopting some of her more hawkish world views.