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Health issues cloud end of Hillary Clinton's reign

WASHINGTON: Here's some good news for Hillary Clinton - the Secretary of State is the most admired woman in the world for the 11th time in a row, according to an annual Gallup poll.

On Sunday, came the news that she is suffering from a blood clot, stemming from a concussion sustained last month when she fainted due to dehydration from a stomach virus. While her condition is not believed to be life-threatening, it has whipped up media hype and is overshadowing her final weeks in office as she prepares to hand over the foreign policy baton to Senator John Kerry, tapped by President Barack Obama as her successor.

Four years ago, Clinton was welcomed with resounding cheers by hundreds of staff at the State Department as, on her first day as the top US diplomat, she declared "a new era for America."

After almost a million miles travelled, 112 countries visited and some 400 days spent on a plane, she is poised to step down as secretary of state, basking in the praise of world leaders for having restored US standing.

Clinton, 65, has been a vocal advocate for America, championing democracy and what she calls "smart power."

Born in Illinois in October 1947, her rise from being a lawyer trained at Yale University where she met Bill in 1974, to the highest echelons of power has carved a path for women everywhere.

In 2008 she almost made history as she sought the Democratic presidential nomination, and conceded defeat to Obama. Despite her denials, many are convinced she will run again, although it is possible her health could become an issue. "The Democrats want her to run. I mean a whole lot of Democrats, like 90 per cent across the country," Democratic strategist James Carville said earlier this month.

After their bitter primaries battle, most were taken by surprise when Obama nominated her as secretary of state.

But Clinton has proved steadfastly loyal, even in many minds taking a bullet for Obama by assuming responsibility for the deaths of four diplomatic staff in the September attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya - a tragedy she calls her "worst time" in office. She has yet to testify publicly since a damning State Department report found security at the mission "grossly inadequate."

Now she insists that it is time to rest.

And if her daughter, Chelsea, obliges, even welcome a long-awaited grandchild into her life.



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