Endless speculation about his wife's political future is a waste of time right now and the nation should be more focused on the "grimy details" of fixing its problems, former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday.

"That is the worst expenditure of our time," the Chappaqua resident said at the 2013 Fiscal Summit, where he appeared with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates joked that he didn't think his wife, the highly regarded philanthropist, would run for president. The former president then chimed in, to laughter, "Hillary hasn't mentioned it to me, either."

Clinton said the former Secretary of State and New York senator was taking a role at the Clinton Foundation, writing a book and "having a little fun being a private citizen for the first time in 20 years."

"That's fine but we need to be worried about the work at hand -- all of us do," Clinton said. "So whoever the next president is has an easier set of choices before him or her to build America's future."

Clinton said the focus on presidential politics, only a few months after President Barack Obama's re-election last year, "obscures our capacity" to tackle the nation's big problems and "plays to our national tendency to attention deficit disorder when it comes to politics."

Numerous polls taken since last year's race have shown Hillary Clinton enjoying a comfortable lead over several prospective Democratic challengers, including Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

A Feb. 27-March 4 Quinnipiac poll showed Hillary Clinton leading three potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who ran for vice president last year on a ticket led by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Hillary Clinton, 65, hasn't commented on any future political plans since she stepped down from her diplomatic post early this year. Supporters, though, have formed a super political action committee to back her if she seeks the White House.

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With The Associated Press and Bloomberg News