STATE DEPARTMENT— U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is back at work this week, helping prepare for the transition that will follow as steps down as America's top diplomat. Clinton said she is not planning on "retirement," again raising speculation that she may run for president in 2016.
Secretary Clinton said the closing weeks of her tenure at the State Department are "bittersweet" because of the "extraordinary" experiences she has had and the "amazing team of people" with whom she has worked.
"I am thrilled to be back, and I am also incredibly grateful to this fabulous team that I have here at the State Department who never missed a beat for the time that I was away. And we are focused on continuing our work, finishing up everything that we can and helping Senator Kerry with his transition," said Clinton.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is President Barack Obama's choice to be the next secretary of state. Kerry already is being briefed by senior State Department officials before his confirmation hearings.
Clinton's comments were her first public remarks since returning to work this week after a month of recovering from stomach virus, a concussion, and a blood clot between her brain and skull.
There has been much speculation about what she will do after she leaves the State Department, with Clinton boosters eager for any sign that she is considering another run for the presidency in 2016.
Asked about her plans at an ambassadorial function Wednesday, she dismissed talk of "retirement."
"Well, I do not know if that is the word I would use, but certainly stepping off the very fast track for a little while," she said.
For the record, Clinton said she plans to help raise money for fellow Democrats and campaign for social issues, including primary education, and maternal and child health.