VARIOUS FILE: Logging more air miles than any other Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton prepares to enter life...
- Title: VARIOUS FILE: Logging more air miles than any other Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton prepares to enter life as a private citizen, leaving behind a legacy of diplomacy and hard work and growing speculation of a 2016 presidential bid
- Date: 28th January 2013
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 21, 2013) (UNRESTRICTED POOL) VARIOUS U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON AND FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON WALKING TO SEATS FOR INAUGURATION CEREMONY WITH CROWDS
- Reuters ID: LVA8RDGTCB5KHA53GIKG70N27ZSS
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Duration: 00:00:29
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Politics,People
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: After logging more airplane miles than any other U.S. secretary of state in history, Hillary Clinton will soon depart her post at the State Department and return to life as a private citizen.
According to the State Department's website, Clinton traveled more than 956,000 miles to a record 112 countries over 401 travel days during her four-year tenure as President Barack Obama's top diplomat.
Calling her an "outstanding" secretary of state, Graham Allison of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government said Clinton carried out her brand of diplomacy through face-to-face meetings, global outreach and old-fashioned hard work.
"First, she was a political heavyweight. Second, she was a rock star in representing the U.S. around the world and third, she is incredibly hardworking and you can see all those features in the course of her four years," he said.
Clinton has been in the public eye for 34 years, since her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was governor of Arkansas.
From the floors of Washington, D.C.'s State Department headquarters to virtually ever the corner of the world, Allison said Clinton brought much more to the table than most secretaries of state.
"The person who has almost been president, who was the first lady, who was almost the presidential nominee, who might be a future nominee, this is a much more substantial person than normally the secretary of state."
But critics say the end of Clinton's stint was tainted by the deadly September 11th attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
At a Congressional hearing on Wednesday (January 23), Clinton defended her handling of the attack and denied any effort to mislead the American people.
"With all due respect, the fact is that we had four dead Americans," Clinton said angrily as she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?" she said.
Allison said Clinton did have some responsibility for the "failure," but thought the impact on her legacy would be limited.
"I think that yes, that it was a failure and I think that she bears some responsibility for it, but I think the failure was quite small relative to you know the circumstances in the world," he said.
Clinton leaves her secretary of state job as the most popular member of Obama's Cabinet and the country's most admired woman - rated far ahead of even first lady Michelle Obama, according to a Gallup poll.
The question now becomes whether she will run for president in 2016.
A Public Policy Polling survey found that 57 percent of Democrats would like her to run, compared to just 16 percent for another potential candidate, Vice President Joe Biden.
Allison's suggestion? Clinton should at first relax, and then review her options.
"First, relax and then think about the last chapter of her life. But, I don't think it is written. I don't think she's chosen anything. I think she is going to have an infinite number of choices but I am sure that the press and many of the rest of the political class will be speculating about whether she is the candidate for 2016," he said.
Health issues may also be a factor in Clinton's 2016 aspirations. She was recently diagnosed with a blood clot, hospitalized and treated with blood thinners.
Democratic Senator John Kerry, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, is expected to be confirmed as Obama's new secretary of state as early as this week.
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- Embargoed:12th February 2013 12:00