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Checkpoint Washington
Posted at 02:49 PM ET, 01/26/2012

Clinton: Done with the ‘high wire’ of politics. Really.


President Obama greeted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at his State of the Union address earlier this week. (Win McNamee — Getty Images)
Like President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she hasn’t been watching the Republican primary debates. But at least Clinton has an excuse for tuning out — she says she’s quitting government after the election no matter who wins.

“What could we do to persuade you to run for vice president?” a staffer asked at a State Department town hall meeting Thursday, referring to cyclical rumors and the wishful thinking of some supporters. “Oh, my goodness,” Clinton replied.

“I will certainly stay on until the president nominates someone and that transition can occur,” said Clinton, who has insisted repeatedly that she will be a one-term secretary. “But I think, after 20 years ...of being on the high wire of American politics, and all of the challenges that come with that, it would probably be a good idea to just find out how tired I am.”

The famously workaholic secretary said she has “no idea” what she will do in the future, and doesn’t want to think about it because it might divert attention from today’s diplomatic tasks. The election, she said, is going to “suck up a lot of the attention from following areas that we think are so important,” including “trying to resolve frozen conflicts” and “trying to build up America’s reputation” in the world.

But that might be good thing, she said, because “maybe we can even get more done” if the rest of the country is fixated on the polls.

“It’s a little odd for me to be totally out of an election season,” Clinton said. “But, you know, I didn’t watch any of those debates.”

And what about that vice president question? Although friends and colleagues say neither she nor the White House is interested, Clinton took a pass.

“I am happy to work with Vice President Biden, who does an excellent job and is a huge advocate and support for this department,” she said.

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By  |  02:49 PM ET, 01/26/2012

 
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