WASHINGTON--Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday said Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is tired, wants time off when she steps down next year and write a book--and did close the door to a 2016 presidential run.
Clinton made his comments about his wife to Bob Schieffer, the host of CBS' "Face the Nation," with timing of the interview pegged to the annual meeting this week of his Clinton Global Initiative in New York.
The drawing power of the CGI is such that both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will address the group--even as Clinton emerged from Obama's Democratic Convention as the star speaker--and is stumping to help Obama win a second term.
There has been much speculation about Secretary of State Clinton's future. A cadre of long-time Clinton backers--veterans of Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 presidential campaign--and Sec. Clinton's failed 2008 Democratic primary bid against Obama--were buzzing about that prospect during the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.
Schieffer asked Bill Clinton if his wife has another presidential run in her.
"I don't know. You know, she's worked hard for 20 years. We had eight years in the White House. Then she ran for the Senate. She served in New York for eight years. Then she immediately became secretary of state.
"And she's tired. She's really worked hard. I think she's done a fabulous job. I'm very proud of her, but she wants to take some time off, kind of regroup, write a book. I hope we'll be working together. She was doing this work long before I was, and a lot of what we do now on women and girls was driven by some of the things she started in the State Department.
"So I think we ought to give her a chance to organize her life and decide what she wants to do. I just don't know. She's an extraordinarily able person. I never met anybody I thought was a better public servant, but I have no earthly idea what she'll decide to do."
No matter if Obama is re-elected, jockeying for 2016 has already started--with the first cut of decisions have to do with what Sec. of State Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden want to do.
The New York Times ran a story Friday about how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo--who served as HUD secretary under President Clinton-- is interested in a 2016 run, but would probably defer to Sec. Clinton. If Clinton and Biden don't run, a new generation of Democrats would likely emerge as contenders, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Clinton--admitting his bias, said his wife is the most qualified to run
"I never met anybody I thought was any better than her at this. But, again, we've got a lot of able people in our party that want to be president. There's never a shortage of people that want to be president. We've got a lot of bright, young governors. We've got a lot of other people who will probably run out of the Congress.
"We won't have to worry about people wanting to be president next time who are good people. But I just think, you know, it's a decision she'll have to make. But whatever she does, I'm for her first, last and always. She's the ablest -- I know I'm biased, but I think she demonstrated as senator and as secretary of state that she has extraordinary ability, a lot of common sense, a lot of, you know, stick-to-it-iveness. She will push a rock up a hill as long as it takes to get it up the hill," Clinton said as he did not close any door.
"Whatever she wanted me to do, I would. But, you know, who knows? It's her decision, her life, but whatever she decides, I'll support it."