As she leaves the State Department with phenomenal approval ratings, the sky appears to be the limit for Hillary Clinton’s future.
By Amanda Walker, US Correspondent
She said goodbye to a room packed with applauding State Department staff as she rounded off her final day as America’s top diplomat.
Even her critics can’t deny Mrs Clinton’s star power, influence and popularity. Despite the row over the handling of security in Benghazi, she leaves her job with close to 70% approval ratings.
But over the years her relationship with the public, media and colleagues has fluctuated. Once one of the most hated women in America, she is now one of the most admired.
It’s her former first lady status that puts her in Washington’s Madame Tussaud’s presidential gallery, but few would argue that she doesn’t deserve her own place in the political hall of fame.
She continues to be a star attraction for tourists there, both fellow Americans and those from further afield.
Culma Soliban, from Puerto Rico, said: “She’s a wonderful lady – an example for women in this country. She is excellent.”
While posing for a picture with her wax figure, Indian tourist Susheela Rao said: “She would be an inspiration to many ladies now that she is going to become a very powerful lady in America.”
Fellow American Monique Pollard said: “She speaks her mind – on the whole Benghazi situation I think she handled herself very well.”
Mrs Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State has had mixed reviews but few dispute her character.
Her friend and former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman says: “She’s pragmatic, she’s steadfast, she’s the best prepared person at all times, she’s enormously gracious, she’s bipartisan – there are so many qualities that make Hillary Clinton a standout.”
Her big strength is a commitment to improving lives. Her push for women’s rights could climax in a glass-ceiling-shattering presidency.
Ten years ago the huge success of her first memoir was a defining moment in Mrs Clinton’s career. It meant she could buy an impressive, six-bedroom neo-Georgian house in a leafy part of Washington DC.
The next defining moment could see her in an even bigger house a few miles down the road.
Professor Allida Black has already formed a group to raise funds for a 2016 presidential bid – it’s called ‘Ready for Hillary’.
She said: “She’s proven herself in every capacity as a leader of amazing civil society organisations, as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, senator for New York, Secretary of State, president of the world in my opinion. She has everything that we need and the core value to really lead us.”
With a million miles of international travel under her belt a smiling – now former – Secretary of State arrived home at the end of her final day in the job.
And after the final few handshakes she’s made it clear she’s going to put her feet up for a while before making a decision that, for now, can wait.
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