WASHINGTON - With only days left until she steps down as America's top diplomat, Hillary Clinton left the door open Sunday to a possible future run in the 2016 presidential elections.
And, in a rare joint interview with CBS, she appeared to win the endorsement of none other than President Barack Obama, the man who beat her in the 2008 race to be the Democratic Party's nominee.
For months, 65-year-old Clinton has insisted that after more than two decades in the political spotlight she intends to step back into the shadows, catch up on some rest and enjoy some downtime for a change.
But with her popularity riding high - at around 65 per cent according to a Washington Post-ABC poll last week - many believe she will bounce back to take another shot at being the nation's first woman president in 2016.
"I am still secretary of state. So I'm out of politics," Clinton told CBS television's "60 Minutes" carefully, leaving herself the option of reviving her career once she leaves government.
A woman who has devoted much of her life to public service, as first lady and as a New York senator, she stressed she still cared "deeply about what's going to happen for our country in the future."
Clinton said neither Obama nor "I can make predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow or the next year," in comments bound to rekindle speculation that she could be preparing a 2016 run.
"What we've tried to do over the last four years is get up every day, have a clear eyed view of what's going on in the world. And I'm really proud of where we are," she added.
Obama did nothing to dampen speculation, heaping praise on Clinton and saying he believed she "will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we've had."
"It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I'm going to miss her," he added, saying he wished she was staying on.
"I want the country to appreciate just what an extraordinary role she's played during the course of my administration and a lot of the successes we've had internationally because of her hard work," Obama added.