Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bid the world a virtual goodbye today by video link and online as she took questions from people across the globe and deflected speculation about a possible presidential run in 2016.
Clinton plans to step down this week, following today’s Senate confirmation of Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry as her successor (by a vote of 94-3)r. Her next step remains a question. Clinton’s supporters have created political action committees to raise money for a possible presidential run in 2016. President Barack Obama’s backers recently helped retire Clinton’s debt from her failed 2008 campaign, leaving her with a surplus.
“I am not thinking about anything like that right now,” Clinton said in answer to a young woman in London, adding that that, “Right now, I’m not inclined to do that.. I am looking forward to finishing up my tenure as secretary of state and then catching up on about 20 years of sleep deprivation.”
Clinton’s use of social networking technology reflects a hallmark of her time at the State Department, where she pushed embassies to use social networking sites such as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. (FB) Today, her department and its embassies have at least 195 Twitter accounts and 290 Facebook pages with 15 million followers.
In her responses, Clinton warned of violence in Mali spreading beyond North Africa, expressed disappointment that North Korea’s new leader may test a nuclear device, spoke of her hopes for a productive U.S.-China partnership and of the rocky relationship with Russia.
Her biggest regret, she said, is the loss of four American lives in Benghazi, Libya, in September.
Domestic issues also arose in the hour-long session in Washington. She said Obama in a speech today will offer specifics on a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country. She also said that the “increasingly partisan” atmosphere in Washington has “resulted in less productivity.”
“Democracy and certainly legislative bodies require compromise,” she said. “You can’t let compromise become a dirty word, because then you veer toward fanaticism.”
Asked which predecessor she identifies with most, Clinton chose William H. Seward, President Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, a former New York senator who lost his party’s presidential nomination to Lincoln. “There’s a little bit of a parallel here in the whole ‘team of rivals’ concept,” Clinton said, laughing. “I like his willingness to work with President Lincoln.”
See the rest of the story on Clinton’s virtual farewell at Bloomberg.com.