Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton and a strong challenger to Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, regularly says she is not interested in a second run for president. But her remarks also appeared designed to dampen ongoing speculation that she could replace Joe Biden as vice president in 2012.
(One complicated, and apparently imagined, scenario had her replacing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates next year and then being tapped for the second spot on Obama's 2012 ticket.)
Speaking at a televised town hall here, Clinton, 63, said she has had a "fascinating and rewarding public career," starting off as an advocate for children. She noted that she had served eight years as first lady and eight years as senator; 2011 will be her third year as the chief U.S. diplomat.
"I think I will serve as secretary of state as my last public position and then probably go back to advocacy, and probably on behalf of women and children," she said.