Hillary Clinton has made her first major visit to Upstate New York since taking on the job of Secretary of State three years ago. Clinton was featured in a public forum at Syracuse University. YNN's Bill Carey says while the Secretary's focus was on foreign policy, the attention of the media and public was focused firmly on domestic politics.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For Hillary Clinton, it was something of a homecoming. A place she had visited often as a U.S. Senator. Now, she was here as Secretary of State, to explain the mission she has been on for the past three years. Work, she says, to re-establish faith overseas in the United States.
"To reassure people that the United States would get through the economic crisis, that we would continue to provide leadership on the full range of issues that affect us as well as the rest of the world," she said.
Clinton was questioned at the forum by her former deputy, now dean of Syracuse University's Maxwell School, James Steinberg, on a wide range of topics from human rights to energy policy to the environment.
Hillary Clinton is widely expected to step down as Secretary of State at the completion of Barack Obama's first term as President. There's speculation, of course, that she will then embark on a race for the presidency in 2016. She's done what she can to tamp down that speculation, saying she'd prefer to spend her time writing, teaching and relaxing.
She will skip a visit to this year's democratic convention. But don't read that as her being disengaged from the domestic political scene. She made clear she has strong views on the ongoing budget and deficit standoff in Washington.
Clinton said, "We can disagree about what to about the deficit or the debt, but let's not pretend you can keep cutting taxes and end our deficit and debt. We do great damage to our political system when we act like ideology in the American political process is more important than facts."
Ideology which, she claims, has produced simplistic answers to complicated problems.
"Cutting taxes is not going to produce huge amounts of revenue," Clinton said. "We tried that in the 80s, and it didn't work so well. My husband had a different idea. He kind of understood arithmetic, and so he said, okay, we got to do a little of this and a little of that and he got to a a balanced budget and a surplus."
Clinton says she is not interested in running for office again -- but skeptics always seem to see hints that that decision could change.
"It's exciting to have ideas that you would like to work toward," Clinton said. "It's exciting to convince people to work with you towards implementing those ideas."
Clinton has grown more popular in her role at the State Department. He approval rating, in a poll taken last fall, stood at 69 percent.