WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton said she planned to stay on as secretary of state into US President Barack Obama’s second term, presuming he wins re-election, to help with the transition.
“I will stay until the beginning of the next term because I know it takes a while for people to get appointed and confirmed,” Clinton told ABC News in an interview.
“There needs to be a seamless transition with whomever President Obama decides to appoint after he is re-elected, which I am confident he will be,” she said.
Obama selected Clinton, 63, to be his administration’s top diplomat after defeating her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary — a five month, coast-to-coast nominating marathon.
The former first lady told CNN last week that she has “no intention” of running again for the presidency. Her husband Bill Clinton was president from 1993-2001.
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Clinton is the only former first lady in US history to be elected to the US Senate. She represented the state of New York from January 2001 to January 2009.
Clinton, the 67th secretary of state, told CNN that she had “a wonderful experience” in her 2008 presidential campaign and was “very proud of the support I had and very grateful for the opportunity, but I’m going to be, you know, moving on.”
Her legacy as secretary of state could be shaped by the outcome of the United Nations-backed military strikes in Libya, aimed at protecting civilians from forces loyal to strongman Moamer Kadhafi.
Clinton is widely reported to have been a strong advocate of the strikes. She helped shepherd through the UN Security Council a resolution imposing a no-fly zone, and she noted the “unprecedented” support of the Arab League.
In the interview with ABC, Clinton said she was “not going to characterize anybody’s opinion” from inside the administration, regarding who was for or against the military strikes.
Clinton alluded to the many dramatic events in recent months, such as Arab uprisings and the Japanese earthquake.
“I do wake up and feel increasingly that we are living in a historic turning point on so many fronts, and that our country and the world has some hard thinking to do that needs to lead to transformational action. I don’t think the old answers are good enough,” she said in the ABC interview.
“And I just want to see the United States assume the role that we have historically assumed, which is that we are the people of the future, we are the ones who are innovating our ways and building our ways into a much better, more prosperous, peaceful future,” she said.
“But it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and our political system and the political systems of so many other countries have to be prepared to make some tough decisions.”