(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she has “never” wished that she could be the one making the decisions facing President Obama, and she insisted she will not run for president again.
In what is believed to be her first unequivocal, public disavowal of still harboring presidential ambitions, Clinton laughed and answered “no” when asked directly on the NBC’s Today show, “Will you ever run for president again?”
“No, no, no,” she told interviewer Ann Curry. “I mean, this [being secretary of state] is a great job. It is a 24/7 job, and I’m looking forward to retirement at some point.”
The interview was recorded in Zurich on Saturday and broadcast on Monday.
Clinton lost a hard-fought nomination battle to Obama, conceding in June 2008 and going on to support him in the presidential campaign. After defeating Sen. John McCain in November, Obama on December 1 formally announced that his former rival would be his nominee as secretary of state.
Clinton will be 69 at the end of the 2016 election campaign. By contrast, McCain turned 72 during the latter stages of his unsuccessful campaign. President Reagan was 73 when he ran for a second term in 1984 and turned 74 several weeks after being sworn in.
As recently as July, Clinton was not as firm in denying the possibility of another presidential run. Asked about it during a visit to Bangkok, she told Thai interviewers “that’s not anything I’m at all thinking about,” and “that’s not anything that is at all on my radar screen.”
Her flat denial on NBC’s “Today” show is likely to undercut the hopes of her supporters and end the speculation of analysts pondering a 2016 run by the woman who came closer to the Oval Office than any other in history.
Before now, some had even not ruled out the possibility of another Clinton attempt in three years’ time.
“As President Obama's poll numbers continue to decline steadily, Hillary Clinton is not unaware of the potential which rests within this developing scene,” Brian Mark Weber, professor of U.S. history at American Military University, wrote in August, mulling the possibility of a Clinton bid in 2012 in the event Obama’s first term is deemed a “failure.”
The more common commentary envisaged a 2016 run, prompted in part by poll numbers suggesting that, with the divisive campaign over, Americans’ views about Clinton had tempered somewhat.
(An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in March found that 59 percent of respondents viewed her in a positive light – more than 10 points higher than the highest ratings she received during the campaign.)
In the Today interview, Clinton denied ever wishing that it could be she making the decisions rather than Obama.
“I have to tell you it never crosses my mind,” she said.
“Never?” pressed Curry.
“No, not all. I am part of the team that makes the decisions.”
Clinton also described as “absurd” the suggestion that she was being marginalized in the administration.
“I believe in delegating power,” she said. “I’m not one of these people who feels like I have to have my face in the front of the newspaper or on the TV in every moment of the day.
“I would be irresponsible and negligent were I to say, ‘Oh no, everything must come to me,’ ” she said. “Now, maybe that is a woman’s thing. Maybe I’m totally secure and feel absolutely no need to go running around in order for people to see what I’m doing. It’s just the way I am.”
Presiding over a U.N. Security Council meeting two weeks ago, Clinton prompted laughter and applause when she told the gathering, “I kind of like being a president, so I – this may go on a little longer than anticipated.”
“Thank you, Madame President,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon quipped in response.