WASHINGTON--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will not stay on for a second term if President Obama is re-elected---and will not be seeking another public office. That's what she has been telling interviewers this week, as she is as busy as ever, juggling a multi-crisis portfolio as she travels the globe. My observation: she looks tired.
At a Wednesday press conference at the State Department, held with Morroco Foreign Mininster Taieb Fassi-Fihri, Clinton defended the air strikes in Libya and the creation of a no-fly zone: "This week, Gadhafi's troops were poised to enter Benghazi over the weekend, putting hundreds of thousands of civilians in that city of 700,000 at great risk. Today those troops have been pushed back, and those civilians are safer as a result. Coalition efforts have downgraded Gadhafi's air defense capabilities and set the conditions for an effective no-fly zone.
"I know that the nightly news cannot cover a humanitarian crisis that thankfully did not happen, but it is important to remember that many, many Libyans are safer today because the international community took action."
The Obama administration condemned the bombing in Jerusalem; Clinton said, "The United States is committed to Israel's security, and we strongly condemn this violence and extend our deepest sympathies to all those affected." And of course with Japan struggling with the nuclear disaster coming after the earthquake and tsunami, Clinton said, "We stand ready to help in every way that we possibly can."
All the nonstop travel--some 80 countries since Obama took office--and crisis after crisis--have left Clinton ready to move on---not now--but after Obama is re-elected and a replacement is in the pipeline.
In a People Magazine interview with Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, "I've been on the highest tightrope of American and global politics. In two years it will be 20 years," Clinton, 63, tells PEOPLE in an interview for the new issue. "I want to do other things," she adds, saying she plans to step down when President Obama's first term ends in January 2013 and not seek any other public office."
Clinton told ABC News Diane Sawyer--presuming Obama is re-elected,"Oh, I will stay until the beginning of the next term because I know it takes a while for people to get appointed and confirmed. I mean, obviously, there needs to be a seamless transition with whomever President Obama decides to appoint after he is reelected, which I am confident he will be."