On one of her last official foreign trips as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton emphasized her support of the embattled UN Ambassador Susan Rice and brushed off speculation about her and her husband former President Bill Clinton's future plans.
Republican criticism of Rice following the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead has complicated the possibility President Barack Obama might nominate her to replace Clinton as secretary of state. At issue are talking points Rice conveyed on the Sunday public affairs television shows following the attack which did not label the assault a deliberate act by terrorists. Critics have said she knowingly misled the public while Rice and the White House maintain she made clear the information provided was based on the best intelligence available at the time.
Clinton praised Rice as a capable leader and insisted "she made very clear in her appearances that the information was subject to change as more facts were gathered and analyzed by the intelligence community" in a press conference after a speech at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Dublin Thursday.
"This decision about who succeeds me is totally up to the President, and of course, I will support whatever he decides," said Clinton, who announced she would be leaving her post in the administration in January.
"I've told [Obama] that I certainly do what I can to help to expedite a transition, but I'm not going to make any comment beyond that."
As for her and her husband's future political aspirations, Clinton demurred in response to continued speculation she might make a run for the White House in 2016 and rumors former President Bill Clinton might be in line as ambassador to Ireland.
"I'm frankly looking forward to returning to living a life that enjoys a lot of simple pleasures and gives me time for family and friends and other pursuits," she said.
"I cannot comment on what President Obama might do in the second term - obviously, it's his decision - but I would think that my husband will be here many times in the future doing the work that he's been doing without having to have the title of ambassador."