You think you've had a busy day? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has toured Cairo's Tahrir Square, met with Egypt's new prime minister, commented on the pardoning of CIA contractor Raymond Davis and fast-moving events in Bahrain and Libya, and sat for interviews with the BBC, CBS, and NBC.
Somehow, she also found the time to tell CNN's Wolf Blitzer that she is not interested in serving a second term as secretary of state if President Obama wins reelection, though she does plan on finishing out her first term. She didn't elaborate on her decision, though she did explain why she isn't interested in replacing Robert Gates as secretary of defense or running for president in 2016: "This is a moment in history where it is almost hard to catch your breath. There are both the tragedies and disasters that we have seen from Haiti to Japan and there are the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that we see right here in Egypt and in the rest of the region ... There isn't anything that I can imagine doing after this that would be as demanding, as challenging or rewarding."
Clinton's decision may not be all that surprising. A quick glance at the terms of Clinton's predecessors suggests that secretaries of state don't usually stick around for longer than four years. Clinton also hinted that she wouldn't be interested in a second term in an interview with PBS’s Tavis Smiley two months ago. But reactions to the news has nevertheless been swift, and it generally falls into four camps:
Sadness "I'm disappointed--she has been a really strong force as Secretary of State," says Vanessa at Feministing. A lot of Hillary Clinton fans will probably feel the same way.
Skepticism "This doesn’t meant that Clinton wouldn’t stay on if President Obama asked her to," points out Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis. "Also, there will be those who will simply refuse to believe that she, and her husband, will simply leave electoral politics," though "Clinton will be 69 years old in 2016 and she may not be in the mood for what would be another open race for the Democratic nomination." 69? No problem! responds John McCormack at The Weekly Standard. That would make "her almost a year younger than Reagan when he was first elected president," he says.
Speculation "Clinton has said that once she leaves the Obama administration she would like to focus her work on women and girls, something she has remained passionate about during her time as America’s top diplomat," reports ABC's Kirit Radia.
Succession Possible successors to Clinton at State could include Senators John Kerry John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar, (R-IN), U.N. Ambassador Susan Rise, and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, notes Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin.