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Hillary: No intention of running for president

Memoir due out Monday

Clinton:
Clinton: "I wanted to give a complete account of my eight years in the White House with my husband."

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Hillary Clinton's book tells of her anger when husband Bill revealed the truth of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. CNN's Jonathan Karl reports (June 4)
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former first lady Hillary Clinton says she has no plans to launch a bid to become the country's first woman president in the next two elections.

It has often been speculated the former first lady would make a bid for the White House, but in two interviews Sunday, she said she had "no intention" to run for president in 2008 -- and would turn down invitations to run in 2004.

Clinton said she is enjoying her current political role as a senator for New York.

"I don't have any intentions or plans for running," Clinton told ABC's Barbara Walters. "I'm flattered the question gets asked. I hope that it will lead to a woman running for president."

Asked what she would say if Democrats asked her to run in 2004, she said, "Absolutely, I would say no."

Clinton told Time magazine, in an interview published Sunday, that she intends to run for re-election as senator in 2006. AOL-Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.com.

Hillary Clinton's interviews came on the eve of the release of her memoir, "Living History," in which she discusses everything from Bill Clinton's sex scandals to her childhood in Illinois.

"Living History" hits bookstores Monday, and the former first lady-turned-U.S. senator will kick off a book-signing tour in New York City.

"I am a private person, and it was difficult to write the book, but I wanted to give a complete account of my eight years in the White House with my husband," Clinton, 55, said in an interview Wednesday aired by NY1.

She promised that the book would cover the "very many high points and good times as well as the more difficult ones."

Already, "Living History" has drummed up considerable interest in political circles, thanks largely to leaks of extracts, reported by The Associated Press, in which Clinton talks about her sense of betrayal and hurt over President Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The publisher, Simon & Schuster, has ordered 1 million copies for its first printing, an unusually high number for a work of political nonfiction. Clinton was paid a $2.85 million advance on the book, part of an $8 million deal.

Critics and fans

The buildup to the book's release has prompted a new look at Clinton's role in the public limelight, her political ambitions, her marriage and her policies. That review comes complete with a disharmonious chorus of supporters who see her as a modern role model for women, and detractors who see a power-hungry and manipulative politician.

"The fact is she comes into public life during a time of change," said Ann Lewis, White House communications director during the Clinton administration. "She speaks openly about issues and the interests she has in them."

Her style, Lewis said on CNN's "Crossfire," elicited strong responses. "People reacted to it differently," Lewis said.

That may be an understatement. On radio talk shows and news programs, discussions of Clinton and her book were often visceral and heated, a reminder that the former first lady remains a divisive figure.

"I think she is power-hungry," said Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative public policy organization. "I don't think it's a healthy emotion ... that Hillary brings to the stage."

Said Victoria Jones, a radio talk show host in the nation's capital and a Clinton supporter: "She has presence. She has leadership. She just has to blink and the press comes running."

The book figures to revisit familiar terrain: Clinton's botched effort at reforming health care, controversies over Whitewater and her stock investments, the suicide of White House aide Vince Foster, her many travels abroad in which she promoted the rights of women and children, her successful efforts as a Democratic fund-raiser, and, of course, her sometimes enigmatic marriage to Bill Clinton.

What does Clinton hope people will take away from her book?

"I hope that they will, you know, get a better understanding of, you know, my background, my beliefs and certainly then, I think, people will be able to make judgments based on the entirety of the book," she said.

-- CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl and CNN's Sean Loughlin contributed to this report.


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