WASHINGTON--Chatter about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton replacing Vice President Biden on the Obama 2012 ticket persist no matter how many times she says it is "not going to happen." And now in a joint interview CNN's Wolf Blitzer did with Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta--Panetta did not throw cold water when Blitzer asked Clinton about 2016.
Clinton and Panetta were interviewed in Brussels, at NATO Headquarters, where they attended meetings to prepare for the May NATO Summit in Chicago. Clinton has said she if President Barack Obama wins a second term, she will stay at State only as long as it takes to get a replacement for her.
"She's been a great leader and she will be a great leader in the future," Panetta said.
Blitzer replied, aiming the comment at Clinton, "You know, they really want you. And a lot of Democrats and others, they would like to run in 2016. I just see you smiling."
"Look, I'm flattered. I am honored. That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country," Clinton said.
Because of their positions, the Defense Secretary and Secretary of State do not campaign and officially stay out of politics. Clinton won't even attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., though her husband is all but certain to be there.
As for replacing Biden, she said, "That is not going to happen. That's like saying if the Olympic Committee called you up and said are you ready to run the marathon, would you accept? Well , it's not going to happen."