Hillary Clinton Wants Off of International 'Merry-Go-Round' — in 18 Months

Friday, 15 Jul 2011 09:05 AM

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Life as secretary of state is a carousel, old chum, and Hillary Clinton wants to get off of the international merry-go-round — in 18 months, which happens to coincide with the end of President Barack Obama’s first term.

She still finds her work fascinating, but her nation-hopping and other duties leave her “perpetually tired” and she yearns to settle down, too, she told a BBC interviewer Thursday.

Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela
Hillary Clinton's global travels including meeting former South African President Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation Center of Memory and Dialogue in Johannesburg. She describes Mandela as a "national treasure."
Despite jet lag, Clinton told the BBC’s Kim Ghattas during an extended layover in Dubai because of plane trouble, “I’m exhilarated at the same time. I love what we’re doing, I’m honored to represent our country everywhere we go, and I feel like we are making a difference. So that is enough to keep me going.”

But she also sees a life beyond the global horizon, saying, “I think that I am a pretty normal, average person, despite all of the hype. 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.”

So the former first lady 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.”

Pressed on whether she ever feels too tired to go to work, Clinton responds: “I really don’t. I wake up and say I’m tired so I better get up and get going. But no, every day is fascinating to me because I really don’t know what’s going to happen during the day. I am very aware of how much energy this takes because, clearly, it’s a nonstop marathon. But let me knock on wood here, I have been lucky with health, stamina, and all that goes with it. So no, I won’t lie to you. I’m tired.”

That brings up an issue no woman wants to hear from friends, Clinton notes with a chuckle.

“My friends call and email 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.”

She also addressed her status as a role model, in response to a question about whether people view her as a rock-star celebrity or just a member of the Obama administration.

“I actually think it’s both,” she said. “I mean, I was just walking through the mall here and had some young women come up and shout at me and tell me how much they appreciated me. And I think for young women and not so young women, there is a connection. They know that I’ve spent a lot of time working on women’s issues and they care about what I’m doing and what it might mean for them. So I still encounter that a lot. And so that’s kind of my independent role.

“But also as someone who ran against Barack Obama, and you’ve heard me say, ran very hard and didn’t make it, but then supported him and much to my amazement was asked to be Secretary of State. That is a very powerful story around the world.”

Her story continues today, with a meeting in Turkey about urging Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down and determining what other countries should do if he surrenders power.

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