Hillary Clinton Says Farewell in Final Days as Secretary of State

BY Ellen Rolfes  January 31, 2013 at 1:50 PM EST

Video courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations YouTube channel.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her final speech as head of the State Department Thursday during a forum at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington emphasizing American leadership, and the need to reshape diplomacy to meet the changing landscape of the world.

“There are limits to what soft power on its own can achieve,” said Sec. Clinton on her penultimate day of public service. “And there are limits to what hard power on its own can achieve. That’s why, from day one, I’ve been talking about smart power.”

As she described her work, she referenced the nearly one million miles of travel visiting 112 countries, including many nations, such as Togo, that had not been visited to by a U.S. secretary of state, prior to Clinton.

In addition, she recounted the many people outside bureaucracy she met with during those visits because of the growing importance and influence of non-state actors on foreign policy decisions. “You can’t build a set of durable partnerships in the 21st century with governments alone,” she said. “The opinions of people now matter as to how their governments work with us, whether it’s democratic or authoritarian.”

Clinton’s replacement, Sen. John Kerry, nominated by President Obama and confirmed with overwhelming support by Congress, will be sworn into office as secretary of state Feb. 1.

As Clinton steps down from Obama’s cabinet, she does so as one of the most popular members of his administration. She is also popular worldwide — according to a December 2012 USA Today/Gallup poll she is the most admired woman in any part of the world.

As she leaves the government sector for the first time in 34 years, there is much speculation over whether Clinton will consider running for president in 2016.

Mark Shields and David Brooks discussed Clinton’s legacy as secretary of state Friday on the PBS NewsHour. The political analysts began by discussing Clinton’s performance during Senate and House hearings on the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi.

Clinton has spoken to the NewsHour several times over the course of her four years as secretary of state. In her most recent appearance on the program in December 2011, she spoke with Jim Lehrer during a symposium in Washington. While their conversation focused primarily on how foreign policy decisions can influence economic growth, they also discussed the importance of democracy to U.S. foreign relations.

Here is one of the memorable parts:

“Look, I think we are always better off being on the side of democracy, but we have to keep our eyes wide open. There is no guarantee that this will be an easy road for the people themselves or, frankly, for us … I think, No. 1, we are for democracy, but we’re for democracy that actually meets the definition.”

Watch more of Clinton’s interviews with PBS NewsHour during her appointment as secretary of state:

Secretary Clinton: Democracies Must Have ‘Habits of the Heart’

Clinton: No Troop Moves Until Afghan Election Resolved

Clinton: Pakistan ‘Making Progress’ Against Extremists