This is not goodbye, more like 'see you soon' as Hillary Clinton keeps a hand in


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The Independent US

Senator John Kerry attended a private dinner party in Washington on Monday night hosted by William Hague along with such luminaries as George Schultz, Condoleezza Rice and former Federal Reserve boss Alan Greenspan. He was not, however, the guest of honour. Hillary was.

This might seem topsy-turvy. It is Mr Kerry who will be serving as America's top diplomat in the years ahead (he was confirmed as the new Secretary of State by the US Senate) while Hillary Clinton is about to fade into retirement. Yet it is she who has been hogging the limelight to an indecent degree. Today it was a global town hall meeting. On Sunday she appeared with Barack Obama on 60 Minutes.

Why are we so loath to let her go? Is it her work ethic or just the fact of her having taken the job in the first place given how hard she fought to stop Barack Obama's White House quest in 2008? Was she was so fantastic a Secretary of State anyway? Last week, she blew up on Capitol Hill while being grilled about what lay behind the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Does it really matter, she asked? Err. Well, yes.

Beneath all the extravagant gestures of farewell is something else of course: See you soon! In the last days not one but two political action committees have been formed to promote Ms Clinton as the 2016 Democratic nominee for president. Elisa from Germany asked the burning question in the global town hall. Will you run? "Right now I am inclined not to do that," Ms Clinton responded with a very broad smile.

No sound of a door-slam in that answer. If she goes for it, Ms Clinton would be a formidable candidate. It would be bad news for Joe Biden, who clearly also wants the top job. She would have the money, the network of supporters as well as the backing of that other shockingly popular top gun, her husband.

Ms Clinton will be 69 in 2016. But it isn't that that might yet stop her. By then, the US will have had eight years of Barack Obama and may simply be in the mood to put a Republican back in the White House come what may. Ms Clinton may run but only if the risk of her losing again is decently low. Otherwise, no thanks.