Hillary Clinton gives the same answer whenever a reporter asks her if she'll serve a second term as Secretary of State, yet it's huge news each and every time. On Thursday, she told State Department employees she wants to retire after two decades of exposure as the first lady, a U.S. senator and the nation's top diplomat. "I think after 20 years, and it will be 20 years, of being on the high wire of American politics and all of the challenges that come with that, it would be probably a good idea to just find out how tired I am."
The way news sites activated their "breaking news" alerts and screamer headlines, you'd think the Lindbergh baby was found. "Hillary Clinton Wants to Throw in the Towel," trumpeted Business Insider. "Hillary Clinton Dodging Political 'High Wire'" shouted the Huffington Post. It wasn't just websites in the business of drumming up pageviews: USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post all ran similar items.
This is not the first time we're learning that Hillary Clinton plans to quit the State Department and politics in general. In March 2011, she told CNN she will not serve a second term at the State Department even if President Obama wins re-election. She also said she wasn't interested in taking on any other government jobs following her departure. "Do you want to serve a second term as secretary of state?" asked Wolf Blitzer. "No," Clinton replied.
That news made headlines everywhere. In an October 2011 interview, Clinton again confessed to wanting to leave public office after Obama's first term. "I am looking forward to being out of public life, whether it's high-level appointments like this or elected office," she said. "I have no interest in or no plans of any sort to pursue that any more." That made headlines everywhere, as well. If you want to go way back, Clinton told Fox News Sunday in November 2010, “I am very happy doing what I’m doing and I am not in any way interested in or pursuing anything in elective office."
To repeat (again!): Hillary Clinton would like very much to retire. Now, can reporters please stop flipping out every time she says it?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.