NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Mrs Hillary Clinton gave mixed signals on whether she is considering another presidential run, telling a New York City audience last Friday (Oct 26) that she would be well-suited to the office.
During a far-ranging interview with Ms Kara Swisher of the technology website Recode (Ms Swisher is also a contributor to The New York Times' Opinion section), Mrs Clinton initially said "no" when asked whether she wanted to run for president again.
She then paused and repeated "no", but after Ms Swisher noted the slight hesitation, Mrs Clinton seemed to reconsider her response, saying that a major task of the next Democratic president will be improving the international standing of the United States.
"Well, I'd like to be president," she said, at the public taping of Ms Swisher's podcast at New York's 92nd Street Y. "The work would be work that I feel very well prepared for, having been at the Senate for eight years, having been a diplomat in the State Department, and it's just going to be a lot of heavy lifting."
But after the remarks were widely reported - and dissected on social media - Ms Swisher tweeted on Monday that the reaction seemed to be out of proportion to what Mrs Clinton had said.
"Tweeps, simmer down!" Ms Swisher wrote on Twitter. "While it perhaps sounded like @HillaryClinton refused to rule it out, my take is she was basically implying she wishes she were president, but doesn't relish running again."
Mrs Clinton has become a more visible presence in recent weeks, increasing the number of her public appearances and raising money for Democrats across the country. Last week, she spoke at a fund raiser for Ms Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration official, who is running for a House seat in Florida.
"She will always be a winner and I'll always be with her," said Ms Shalala, introducing Mrs Clinton to a room full of 200 Democratic donors in Miami.
While Mrs Clinton has a base of support among Democrats, many in the party would prefer she keep a lower profile, pointing to her low approval rating and arguing she is a distraction to the party's mid-term messaging.
Like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Mrs Clinton has been depicted as a villain in Republican campaign advertisements that attack Democratic candidates.
Mrs Clinton dismissed some of the calls for her to retreat from public life as sexist.
"There were no articles telling (former vice-president) Al Gore to go away or (former secretary of state) John Kerry to go away or (late senator) John McCain or (former Republican presidential nominee) Mitt Romney to go away," she said. "Mitt Romney is going to the Senate, that's where he's going."
Mrs Clinton said she would not consider a possible run in 2020 until after the mid-term elections next week.
"I'm not even going to even think about it until we get through this Nov 6 election," she said. "But I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure we have a Democrat in the White House come January of 2021."
Should she mount a third presidential bid, Mrs Clinton would be entering a Democratic field crowded with potential contenders, a major shift from 2016, when nearly no Democrats were eager to challenge her.
Mrs Clinton said she expects a crowded field of as many as 20 Democrats.
"I think we'd have a number of excellent candidates who would be really formidable on the campaign trail, but let's wait and see who it is," she said.
"I'm just going to wait and watch what happens."