“She’s just looked so sad and so tired,” said Ritu Sharma, a women’s rights activist, referring to Clinton’s appearances in the days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
They wanted to defend her, to rave about her, to say how sick they were of people talking about her hair, and then to talk about her hair, which, several men and women offered, definitely looked best in a simple chignon.
Mostly, though, people wondered what the woman walking across the stage — now smiling as a soaring, presidential-sounding score began playing — would choose to do next. Maybe now, in her final months in office, she would provide a clue.
Bill and Hillary Clinton looked at each other and laughed. He rolled his eyes.
Then she began talking about how effective development can advance global peace and prosperity — the sort of long, detail-laden speech that Clinton has given a thousand times, the kind that says exactly nothing and everything about her future.
In recent weeks, Hillary Clinton has reiterated that she will not stay on for President Obama’s second term, unleashing fresh waves of speculation about her plans.
There is hypothesizing that she is merely entering a hibernation period before a 2016 presidential bid. There is talk that she will start her own women’s rights initiative. There is the prospect, too, that this might really be it for one of the most iconic figures in American political history.
What is clear is that despite lingering questions about Benghazi, Clinton is more beloved than at any point in her long and at times controversial career, commanding soaring approval ratings, a vast fundraising machine and supporters who gush more than ever that she should run for president again.
The truth is, though, that no one is sure what Hillary Clinton will do, possibly not even Clinton herself, who has said her plans include sleeping and watching the home-improvement show “Love It or List It,” which she finds calming.
But there is one way to figure out what Clinton may ultimately decide, and that is to examine what she has already done: not the obligatory things such as jetting to the Middle East as she did last week, but those things that as a first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state she has chosen to do.
Beyond carrying out the Obama administration’s foreign policy and troubleshooting global crises, Clinton has deliberately carved out her own agenda during her four years as secretary of state, making an array of choices that reflect who she is after more than 30 years in public service.