Clinton: Political Life Part of "Happy Past"

Since joining the Obama administration as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton's future in politics has been the source of endless speculation - from a possible second run at the presidency to joining President Obama's ticket in 2012 as a vice presidential candidate.

Always quick to dismiss those rumors, Clinton did so yet again on CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday, calling her office-seeking days part of her "very happy past."

"I had a … wonderful opportunity to serve the people of New York, to work beside my husband when he was president, to run for president myself. But I feel very good about the service I'm rendering now, and will continue to do that."

Clinton also sought to downplay rumors that she would shift to the Pentagon as secretary of defense, saying she respects and admires Secretary Robert Gates and hopes he stays in the job a long time. There have been reports that Gates may step down.

"As far as I know, these are just rumors. I'm happy to stay where I am," Clinton said.

Clinton says she committed herself to serving President Barack Obama for at least one term, but says there's no such promise if he's re-elected.

Clinton lost to Mr. Obama in a hard-fought fight for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008.



The main thrust of the interview concerned the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. Clinton expressed hope that the visit would strengthen relations between the two powers, which she called "one of the most consequential" for the future of the world.

"We do not always see the world the same way, which is to be expected since we have very different histories and cultures," she said. "But it is imperative that we work not only government-to-government, but people-to-people to build a foundation of better understanding and trust so that where we can agree, we will do so, and work together."
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