Really, there was no better day Hillary Clinton could've declared her candidacy for 2016. And, judging by the reaction she received from her staff Friday, you couldn't be blamed for believing she was indeed running for president.
The former first lady and New York Senator resigned as Secretary of State today saying she plans to revel in her “retirement” and catch up on her sleep after 30 years in public office.
She told a State Department lobby crowded with cheering supporters that she's proud of the job they did over the last four years.
"I am more optimistic today than I was when I stood here four years ago," Clinton said after a raucous welcome from her staff.
"Because I have seen day after day the many contributions that our diplomats and development experts are making to help ensure that this century provides the kind of peace, progress and prosperity that not just the United States but the entire world, especially young people, so richly deserve," she said, according to Politico.
She leaves Washington, however, with an approval rating that reached 67 percent as Barack Obama took his second oath of office despite recent foreign service deaths.
On Friday, a suicide bomber killed himself and an American guard outside the embassy in Ankara, Turkey. One of Clinton's final official duties this year was to explain to congress her office’s reaction to the Benghazi, Libya attack that killed four Americans.
“I leave this department confident about the direction we have set,” Clinton said, according to CBS News. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to elevate diplomacy and development … to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted and that our values are respected.”
Despite accolades she’s received recently, running again for president doesn’t appear to be in her future, for now at least. Clinton told NPR that a life outside politics intrigues her more than ever.
“I want to be involved in philanthropy, advocacy, working on issues like women and girls that I care deeply about,” she said, according to NPR.
That hasn’t stopped two Super PACs from declaring themselves ready to help elect America’s first woman president.
“We believe Hillary will see that 2016 is the right year, for the right woman for so many different reasons,” Ready for Hillary says on its Facebook page. “The goal is to be as organized and ready as possible for Hillary at that time.”
George Washington University professor Allida Black created Ready for Hillary saying she plans to mobilize supporters well in advance of the 2016 campaign. The page has over 32,000 subscribers.
Harold Ickes was a strategist for Clinton’s failed 2008 bid at the Democratic nomination. He told the Wall Street Journal that supporters have already approached him.
“I’ve talked to very strong Hillary supporters with deep pockets, and they clearly want to see her run,” he said. “In the conversations I’ve had, they’ve said, ‘If she runs, I’m in, and I’m in financially.’”
Yet, there are those that don’t understand the fanfare following Clinton as she departs.
Critics point to few concrete accomplishments during her four years representing the United States abroad.
Clinton might have laid groundwork for issues that she cares deeply about, but lacks any substantial achievements on Israel, Iran or North Korea, one observer told The Los Angeles Times.
“She’s coming away with a stellar reputation that seems to have put her almost above criticism,” said Aaron David Miller, vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “But you can’t say that she's really led on any of the big issues for this administration or made a major mark on high strategy.”
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