Exiting State, Clinton looks to writing, speaking

Updated 11:27 AM EST, Wed January 30, 2013
04:00 - Source: CNN
Clinton talks future after State Dept.

Story highlights

"I have absolutely no plans to run," she tells CNN about a possible return to politics

She plans to work on behalf of women and girls

She also may help with Bill Clinton's foundation work

"We just have public service in our DNA," she says

She may be 65 years old, but outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not retiring. Instead, she’s considering helping the foundation led by her husband and leaving the door open to a possible presidential run in 2016.

“I have absolutely no plans to run,” Clinton told CNN Tuesday – political speak that does not rule out a change of plans – as she prepared to hand over her State Department responsibilities to John Kerry. “I am out of politics right now.”

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Clinton said she planned to refocus her efforts after stepping down on speaking and writing and working on behalf of women and girls.

She suggested she may also add her muscle to the work carried out by the Clinton Global Initiative, which is led by former President Bill Clinton.

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“I’m very proud of what my husband has done in the last 10 years,” Clinton said. “We are going to look to see how we can join our efforts together.”

She noted that their daughter, Chelsea, has also been involved in philanthropic work after Tropical Storm Sandy. “We just have public service in our DNA,” Clinton said.

Clinton acknowledged that her legacy includes unsolved problems in some of the world’s hot spots, but noted that she assumed the job four years ago at a time of great uncertainty. “I think we have to go back to my beginning in January ‘09 to remember how poorly perceived the United States was, how badly damaged our reputation was, how our leadership was in question, how the economic crisis had really shaken people’s confidence in our government, our economic system, our country.”

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Clinton said she had sought initially simply to restore international confidence in American leadership, “sometimes against pretty tough odds,” which included a crisis in the world’s economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The challenges went on to include responding to the Arab Spring, forming international coalitions to inflict sanctions on Iran and North Korea and dealing with changes in Burma, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done,” she said, adding, “We began to practice diplomacy in a different way – not that we jettisoned everything done before, but added new tools to the box.”

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Asked about the Obama administration’s failure to appoint a woman to any of the top four Cabinet positions, she said, “What we have to do is take a look at the broad picture.”

Though opportunities exist for young women to get into the pipeline, “I think there is still a ways to go until we have the kind of critical mass that I want to see.”

Clinton, who lives with her husband in the hamlet of Chappaqua in Westchester County, New York, said she was looking forward to waking up Monday without a schedule for the day – a first.

“I’ve had a job ever since I was 13 years old,” she said. “When I wasn’t in school, I was working. I think it’s going to take some adjustment.”

Clinton, who was hospitalized recently for a blood clot, said she was feeling great. “I’ve got enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused,” she said. “I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my life, whatever it is.”

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CNN’s Tom Watkins, Elise Labott and Jill Dougherty contributed to this report