Hillary Clinton: Come 2013, I'm Signing Off

Erika Johnsen
Posted: Jul 15, 2011 3:33 PM

Hillary Clinton has embarked on another 'round-the-world diplomatic tour, and the violence in Libya is the first item on the docket.

Clinton departed Washington on Thursday for Turkey, where she will attend a meeting in Istanbul of senior officials from the more than 40 nations supporting NATO’s operation to protect Libyan civilians. The fourth meeting of foreign ministers from the so-called Contact Group on Libya will be looking not only at stepping up pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to leave power, but also boosting support to the cash-starved opposition Transitional National Council.

Clinton has participated in two previous Contact Group meetings at which the countries represented, including the U.S., have moved to formalize ties with the council and provide it with financial and other assistance. The Obama administration has delivered humanitarian aid and has been working for weeks with Congress to free up some of more than $30 billion in frozen Gadhafi regime assets in U.S. banks to support the council. But, much to the council’s disappointment, Washington has not yet recognized the group as Libya’s legitimate government.

The job of Secretary of State is surely an exhausting one, and POLITICO reports that Clinton, apparently, agrees:

“I think that I am a pretty normal, average person, despite all of the hype,” Clinton said in an interview with the BBC conducted Thursday. “And I am very interested in spending time with my friends and my family and not being on the merry-go-round all the time.”

That, she said, is why she plans to “move on and return to private life at the end of what will be a very intense period of activity and work in the next 18 months.” ...

Friends, she said, call and email her saying, “’Oh, my gosh, I saw you on television. You looked so tired.’ Which I send back saying, ‘Gee, thanks a lot.’”

“But I know, because if you work around the clock like we do, that’s just inevitable. So I do try to take some time, long weekends, take some deep breathing. I do exercise, yoga, those kinds of things. But no, I’m never tired about the work. It’s just the physical challenge.”

Is Clinton merely feeling the effects of years of a high-energy government career as she enters her elder years, or is the job perhaps particularly grueling under President Obama's reign of foreign-policy-fumbles? I'm not sure I completely buy that she's 100% ready to retire from public life, but either way, as Ed Morrissey points out, announcing one's cabinet-retirement plans so early is a wee bit unusual.