Hillary Clinton Steps Down From State Department, Ending Three Decades of Public Service


"First, although it is better than it was, having been in and around politics for many years now, there is still a double standard," Clinton said. "And it is a double standard that exists from, you know, the trivial, like what you wear, to the incredibly serious, like women can't vote, women can't run for office, women are not supposed to be in the public sphere."

Her four years of work focused on advancing rights for women and religious minorities across the globe, helping to maintain the tenuous peace between Israelis and Palestinians, discouraging Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and, in her own words, "advancing a new approach to development that puts human dignity and self-sufficiency at the heart of our efforts."

Clinton traveled almost 956,733 miles and spent 401 days of her four years traveling, according to the State Department.

She took a month or so off from her prolific travels this winter as a case of the flu and a bad concussion kept Clinton ground-bound, forcing her to cancel a trip to the Middle East and to put off testifying about a report to Congress on the State Department's failure to provide adequate security in Benghazi.

In her last foreign policy speech as secretary of state, Clinton reflected on where the United States had been in January 2009.

"Two wars. An economy in free-fall. Traditional alliances fraying. Our diplomatic standing damaged. And around the world, people questioning America's commitment to core values and our ability to maintain our global leadership. That was my inbox on Day One as secretary of state," Clinton told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations Thursday.

As she exits the international stage, for now at least, America continues to face challenges, but is in a better position to face them, she said.

"The United States is still the only country that has the reach and resolve to rally disparate nations and peoples together to solve problems on a global scale.  Our ability to convene and connect is unparalleled.  So is our ability to act alone when necessary," Clinton said. "We truly are the indispensable nation. That's not a boast -- it's a recognition of our role and our responsibilities. That's why the declinists are wrong.  And it's why the United States will continue to lead in this century, even as we lead in new ways."

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