Hillary Clinton’s reluctance to commit to a second term as secretary of state is fueling talk about whether she still aspires to the job now held by her boss, Barack Obama.
Clinton dodged direct answers to questions about her political future during morning news shows yesterday, but did suggest she may want a break from the spotlight.
“I do look forward to having a little more spare time and a few more hours just to take a deep breath, which seems kind of hard to have in this job,” she said on NBC's “Today” show after host Meredith Vieira asked if she would be a one-term secretary.
But when pressed about a second term, Clinton conceded that it's "not something that I'm in any way committing to or even thinking about."
The former First Lady, 63, also wouldn't say if she would accept an offer to become the first female Secretary of Defense.
It's not surprising that Clinton may need a timeout given the job’s “demanding” pace, said Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein.
“It’s very rare that you would have a Secretary of State serve eight years," he said.
While it’s likely Vice President Joe Biden will again be chosen for Obama’s ticket in 2012, Clinton can still be a strong presidential contender in 2016. She will turn 69 that year.
“She’s not somebody who is going to be defined by Barack Obama,” said a Democratic political adviser Evan Stavisky.
But if Clinton is considering another run, she will need to devote several years to raising money, Stavisky said.
Still, it’s too early to tell if Clinton is planning that far ahead, said Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
“Five years in politics is about 3,000 years in life,” he said. “Anything can happen.”