MANAMA, Bahrain — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton firmly shut the door on another bid for elected office Friday, saying her current job is "my last public position."
Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton and a strong challenger to Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, regularly says she is not interested in a second run for president. But her remarks also appeared designed to dampen ongoing speculation that she could replace Joe Biden as vice president. Another complicated, and apparently imagined, scenario had her replacing Defense Secretary Robert Gates next year and then being tapped for the second spot on Obama's 2012 ticket.
Speaking at a televised town hall meeting, Clinton, 63, said she has had a "fascinating and rewarding public career," starting off as an advocate for children. She noted that she had served eight years as first lady and eight years as senator; 2011 will be her third year as the chief U.S. diplomat.
Clinton is in Bahrain as part of a six-day tour of Central Asia and the Middle East. On Thursday, she managed to touch down in four different countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Bahrain — thanks to cooperative time zones and a willingness to work 22 hours straight. She is expected to return to Washington today.