Dec. 12, 2012— -- When Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her post as secretary of state as expected early next year her political career will have spanned over two decades. ABC's Barbara Walters sat down with the secretary to discuss just what makes the secretary so fascinating to so many people around the world, and what the cultural and political icon finds fascinating herself.
Clinton is by far the most popular official in the Obama administration, and is already the leading candidate should she choose to run for president again in 2016. So is this really goodbye for the former first lady, senator and secretary of state? Or will Hillary Clinton, who recently turned 65 years old, re-invent herself once again?
Clinton said that while "all doors are open" for her future, one thing is for certain: She is definitely leaving the cabinet as soon as a new secretary is sworn in and a smooth transition occurs.
"It sounds so simple, but I've been, as you know, at the highest levels of American and now international activities for twenty years, and I just thought it was time to take a step off… maybe do some reading and writing and speaking and teaching," said Clinton.
She told Walters that she doesn't have a plan for what she'll do immediately after leaving political life but that she wants to continue contributing to society in some way, perhaps in philanthropy or academia. But when pressed on whether that her future includes a widely-speculated 2016 run for president, Clinton maintains that she still does not plan to run.
"I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again," she said. "I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before."
When pressed, however, the secretary does admit that if she did choose to run she would not be concerned about her age. Recently having turned 65, Clinton would be 77 years old if she were to be in office for two terms.
"I am, thankfully, knock on wood, not only healthy, but have incredible stamina and energy," she said. "I just want to see what else is out there. I've been doing, you know, this, this incredibly important and, and satisfying work here in Washington, as I say, for twenty years, I want to get out and spend some time looking at what else I can do to contribute."