Clinton rules herself out of race for White House in 2012
Hillary Clinton said that her current job as US secretary of state would be her last in public office, appearing to draw a curtain on her long-held ambition to emulate her husband by serving in the nation's highest post.
She said that after travelling the globe as America's top diplomat, she foresaw a return to her roots as an advocate for women's and children's issues.
In recent weeks Mrs Clinton has repeatedly laughed off questions about her presidential ambitions, which have become the subject of gossip in Washington given the Democratic Party's heavy defeat in the recent mid-term polls and Mr Obama's struggling performance.
But this was the first time Mrs Clinton had spoken so directly about leaving public service, where she has been a dominant figure in Democratic circles for two decades.
"I think I'll serve as secretary of state as my last public position, and then probably go back to advocacy work, particularly on behalf of women and children," she told a student audience in Bahrain.
A lawyer by training, Mrs Clinton noted that her public career had included eight-year stints both as first lady and as a senator, but said she had most enjoyed her early work as a lawyer representing abused and neglected children and her efforts to promote women's rights.
"If you look at what is still happening to women in many parts of the world it is tragic and terrible," said Mrs Clinton. "I would like to continue working to improve lives for others."
She affirmed that she would not seek the Democratic nomination in 2012 against Mr Obama, who narrowly defeated her in 2008.
Some of her former aides have privately been pushing her towards another White House bid in two years' time or in 2016, but the former first lady seems resigned to not becoming the country's first female president.
If she keeps her word, it would mark the end of an era in which either she or her husband Bill, the former president, has been at the forefront of the political stage.
Given the demands of campaigning, age may also be a factor in her thinking. Now 63, Mrs Clinton would be running for office in 2016 at 69.
Mrs Clinton may yet reverse the decision, and those cynical about the Clintons' trustworthiness will have their doubts about her sincerity. But her remarks are likely to bring some relief to those in Mr Obama's innermost circle. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)