Hillary Clinton leaving world stage, but for how long?

Clintons

In a matter of days, Hillary Clinton will leave the State Department behind and become a private citizen for the first time in 34 years. But her next big decision will be a very public one: whether to run for US president in 2016.

Many factors would weigh in her favor should she decide to run. She leaves her Secretary of State job as the most popular member of Obama's Cabinet and the country's most admired woman – rated far ahead of even first lady Michelle Obama, according to a Gallup poll of Americans.

Plus, her party wants her. A Public Policy Polling survey found that 57 percent of Democrats would like her to run, compared to just 16 percent for another potential candidate, Vice President Joe Biden.

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has made no secret that he would love for her to seek the White House.

And yet Secretary Clinton seems to harbor doubts. She is recovering from a blood clot near her brain that befell her at the end of 2012. She will be 69 years old in 2016, a fairly advanced age for a president.

She would have to weigh whether she thinks Americans want four more years of Democratic rule in the White House, after President Barack Obama's eight years conclude in 2017.

And she seems to relish the idea of taking some time off, exiting the political stage, at least for a while. Running again would not only expose Clinton to the slings and arrows of political life once more, but also put at risk the reputation she has built as a loyal, hard-working, hard-nosed secretary of state. If she were to fail, part of her legacy would be as a two-time loser, after getting bested in the 2008 Democratic presidential race.

Clinton has been a public figure since entering the Arkansas governor's mansion in 1979 as first lady to Governor Bill Clinton. Since then, she's been America's first lady, a US senator from New York, a presidential candidate who lost to Obama, and since 2009, the globetrotting top US diplomat.

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