Kerry on Clinton: ‘No Doubts’

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, with former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC.

Photograph by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, with former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC.

Written with Terry Atlas in New Delhi

John Kerry wanted to be president. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2004.

Hillary Clinton wanted to be president. She lost the party’s nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.

Both became secretaries of state — for Obama.

Yet Kerry has made it clear that electoral politics is off-limits in his current post, so when the former senator from Massachusetts was asked about the potential for the former senator from New York to run for president again in 2016, he said he’s really not supposed to “comment on those things.” But he has “no doubts” about her skills.

Dr. Prannoy Roy, co-chairman of New Delhi Television Ltd interviewed both U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Kerry today in New Delhi, where the secretary of state is making a diplomatic call.

Asked if Clinton would make a good president, Kerry laughed hard and said: “Just a light question.”

“I’m not in politics anymore, I’m secretary of state,” Kerry said. “I’m a great admirer and great friend of Hillary Clinton’s and I’m honored to follow her footsteps, which have left big prints for me to try to fill.”

“Who knows what she’s going to go on to do,” he said. “She’s a very capable person.”

“I have no doubts,” he added, “but I’m not supposed to comment on these things.”

Kerry was able to work in some shopping, however.

The secretary stopped at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, a government-run shopping complex for handicrafts that is a longstanding favorite with foreign tourists (in part because it is all fixed-price).

The staff welcomed Kerry with a bouquet of yellow roses. “They’re beautiful,” he said, handing them off to staff as he hurriedly made the rounds of the Emporium, which appeared to be closed to other shoppers. The secretary bought three rugs. First he agreed to buy a burgundy and yellow dhurrie (a rough rug, common for everyday use on the floors of Indian homes) from Mirzapur, a town in Uttar Pradesh, for $110. He also bought two small silk, embroidered rugs from Kashmir, although we couldn’t hear the prices.

“I do my Christmas shopping as I go along,” the globe-trotting Kerry told the two good-humored Cottage Emporium representatives who guided him around.

Kerry also admired sandalwood sculptures — picking one up to sniff and looking with a magnifying glass at the fine hand-carvings. He asked the price of a carved sandalwood elephant that was the size of a small dog. It listed at 29,000 rupees (roughly $480, although he wasn’t given the conversion) and he passed it by.

He also was shown a range of painted marble work, which traditionally come from Agra.

When asked if he has been to the city of the Taj Mahal, he said: “Yep, I’ve been there before.”

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