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Clinton mulls idea of White House run, aware of 'challenges'

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Liberty Medal ceremony after receiving the award, at the National Constitution
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Liberty Medal ceremony after receiving the award, at the National Constitution

By Philip Barbara

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton acknowledges that she is wrestling with whether to run for the U.S. presidency in 2016, well aware of the "political and governmental challenges" she would face if she wins.

The former U.S. secretary of state and first lady said in an interview with New York magazine that has not decided if she will run and is trying to be "both pragmatic and realistic."

"I'm not in any hurry," Clinton told the magazine in an article posted on its website on Sunday. "I think it's a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it's also not one that has to be made soon."

Clinton, who also served as a U.S. senator from New York, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama.

"I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders," she said. "And I'll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country."

As she considers her 2016 prospects, Clinton said, "I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other."

Some of Clinton's confidants who spoke with the magazine are far less circumspect than she is about a presidential run.

"She's running but she doesn't know it yet," one person told New York, which described Clinton as America's most popular Democrat. "It's just like a force of history. It's inexorable, it's gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does."

One longtime Clinton friend said: "She's doing a very Clintonian thing. In her mind, she's running for it and she's also convinced herself she hasn't made up her mind. She's going to run for president. It's a foregone conclusion."

DOMESTIC LIFE

Since leaving the State Department in February, Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have been spending far more time at home together.

"We have a great time," she said. "We laugh at our dogs. We watch stupid movies. We take long walks. We go for a swim.

Asked if her husband is nudging her toward a run, she said:

"I don't think even he is, you know, focused on that right now," she says. "Right now, we're trying to just have the best time we can have doin' what we're doin'. "

Bill Clinton said his wife's popularity stems from her successes with different people in government.

"She made a lot of friends in the Senate among Republicans as well as Democrats. People in New York liked her across the political spectrum," he in a CNN interview aired on Sunday.

"But these polls don't mean much now," he said. "We're a long way ahead. I think she would be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as a done deal, ever, by anybody. But I don't know what she's going to do."

Hillary Clinton had been the leading the race to be the Democratic candidate in 2008 before being overtaken by Obama. Serving in his cabinet deepened her understanding of the problems a president faces, she said.

"I've had a unique, close, and personal front-row seat," she said in the New York interview. "And I think these last four years have certainly deepened and broadened my understanding of the challenges and the opportunities that we face in the world today."

She said she is enjoying the first time in decades that neither she nor her husband is either running for or serving in office.

"It feels great because I have been on this high wire for 20 years, and I was really yearning to just have more control over my time and my life, spend a lot of that time with my family and my friends, do things that I find relaxing and enjoyable, and return to the work that I had done for most of my life," she said.

(Writing by Philip Barbara; Editing by Bill Trott)

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