Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she would step off the fast track "for a little while" when she leaves the State Department, but she gave no hint as to whether she ultimately may run again for president.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since a stomach virus, concussion and blood clot kept her out of public view for nearly a month, the Chappaqua resident said she wanted to ensure a seamless transition to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed her.
"Obviously, it's somewhat bittersweet," Clinton, who returned to the office Monday, said of her final few weeks as secretary of state, saying she had "the most extraordinary experience" in the position.
"I am very much looking forward to doing everything we can these last few weeks to resolve and finish up wherever possible and then to ... have a very smooth, seamless transition to Sen. Kerry to continue the work," she said.
Asked whether retirement came next, Clinton replied, "I don't know if [that is the] word I would use, but certainly stepping off the very fast track for a little while."
Clinton fell ill with a stomach virus in early December. She then became dehydrated and fainted, leading to a concussion. During a checkup, she learned she had a blood clot. She was hospitalized and treated with blood thinners.
The 65-year-old former first lady and U.S. senator ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 but was defeated by Obama. Clinton is often mentioned as a potential White House candidate again in 2016, although in December she sought to play down that possibility.