Kristin Mannion, a senior consultant at Korn/Ferry International in Washington, D.C., recalls that several years ago, when she underwent heart surgery, Ms. Clinton seriously offered to make her a tuna casserole and was the first person to call her hospital room when she emerged from the operation.
If anything, Ms. Clinton’s friends say they worry about the toll of her constant travel on her own health. For her part, she insists that she is looking forward to stepping off the “high wire” of national and international politics (although she recently opened the door to staying in her current job a little longer than originally planned).
“It has been an absolutely extraordinary personal honour and experience,” she said in a recent interview with Marie Claire magazine. “But I really want to just have my own time back. I want to just be my own person.”
Her daughter Chelsea has said Ms. Clinton is eager to become a grandmother.
Ms. Mannion, who got to know Ms. Clinton during her time as a senator, says she has seen a growing calm in her friend.
“I feel like she has a real peace and serenity about her contribution.”
But that is not to say she is done contributing. If Ms. Clinton does choose to run again for the presidential nomination in 2016, it’s hard to conceive that any Democrat could challenge her. Other contenders will remain in suspended animation until she decides whether to run.
“It’s very much up to her,” says Mr. Pickering, the former U.S. ambassador. “I don’t think there’s anything she needs to be ashamed of.”
Part of the reason Ms. Clinton is such a popular figure now is exactly because her job keeps her far from the muck of the domestic political scene. That distance is one of the things she loves about her post, she has said.
For now, even her husband says he has “no earthly idea” what his wife will do. But asked whether she still has the appetite to make history, she has demurred: “I hope to be around when we finally elect a woman president.”
Hillary Clinton remains one of the most tireless secretaries of state. Her schedule is punishing (although she and her husband are celebrating 37 years of marriage, they are rarely in the same place) and her friends are concerned about her health. Her travel this term alone would be a slog for the toughest road warrior.
900,000 miles travelled
110 countries visited
3 visits to Canada
According to a recent Gallup poll, Ms. Clinton’s current public-approval rating matches that of her husband, former president Bill Clinton – and is ahead of this year’s White House contenders.
66% for Hillary Clinton
52% for Mitt Romney
51% for Barack Obama