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Hillary Clinton Explains Why She Might Not Run

In an NBC News interview, she says she's looking forward to being a grandmother and not keen on the dysfunctional politics of today.
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Hillary Clinton says there are a few reasons she might not run for president — and one of them hasn't even been born yet.

"I am about to become a grandmother in the fall, which I know is gonna change my life," the former first lady, senator and secretary of state said in an interview with Cynthia McFadden that aired Tuesday on "NBC Nightly News."

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"I don't know how I'm gonna feel about that. I wanna feel the feelings around becoming a grandmother. I don't wanna be focused on something two years away. I wanna be focused on this baby right in front of me."

When Chelsea Clinton announced in April that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child in the autumn, her mother was by her side.

While Hillary made it clear she's looking forward to filling a new role in her family, she said that's not the only argument against throwing her hat into the ring for 2016.

Although she is busy promoting her new memoir, "Hard Choices," she's also enjoying some downtime after walking "on this high wire of American politics and then American diplomacy for more than 20 years."

"I love my life right now. I love setting my own schedule, seeing my friends. I mean, there were so many friends I had to put on hold, and now I get to have dinner with them and go for walks with them," she said.

"I love hanging out — just, you know, doing fun stuff. I went to a play yesterday with my husband, my daughter, and my son-in-law.

"And it sounds very simplistic, but I want to feel that I'm making the best choice for me as well as the best choice for my country."

The ugly side of American politics is another deterrent, she said.

"It is a factor. I think anybody who says it isn't either has never done it, or may be trying to downplay it," she said.

"Our politics right now are very contentious, very dysfunctional, if you look at our country. I saw that from afar."

In the wide-ranging interview, Clinton addressed the big topics of the day and some of the decisions in her past:

On CIA leaker Edward Snowden:

"I believe that he should return to this country... rather than taking refuge under Putin who, so far as I know, has not been transparent about everything Russia does, and I know a lot about what Russia does. Every time I went to Russia, I had to leave all of my electronic equipment on the plane with the batteries out. And so he's sought refuge in a country that is one of our real competitors for getting information about what the other does or doesn't do…

"He is a lawbreaker. He violated American law. He violated his duties that he assumed when he took the job that he had. And if he is as proud of, or as secure in his belief that what he did was the right thing, he should come home and defend it."

On what her one "do-over" would be:

"It would be Benghazi. In retrospect, if I had upended the way security decisions are made by security professionals, maybe, maybe not. Because I'm not a security professional. I mean, we set up a system where the people who are both on the ground and with experience back in Washington make these decisions. I think that's right. Although, in this case the findings were they should have done more.

"If I had substituted my judgment for Chris Stevens', an experienced ambassador, someone who spoke the language, who knew Libya, who had been in Benghazi during the revolution, what would I have based it on? Were there security threats? Yes, but I knew there were security threats in many of our posts around the world."

On GOP strategist Karl Rove questioning her health:

"I don't know, other than I think he wanted to try to make something that's not an issue, an issue. Because I always think he acts out of a sense of purpose. I don't think he does throwaway comments, and was kind of silly and he was pushed back because there was no there there…he's testing the waters.

"I think he looks at the upcoming elections and tries to figure out what he can do to maneuver, to get in the best place for whoever the Republican nominee might be."

On former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin:

"The day she was nominated, the Obama campaign did contact me and asked me if I would attack her. I said, 'Attack her for what, for being a woman? Attack her for being on a ticket that's trying to draw attention?’ There'll be plenty of time to do what I think you should do in politics, which is draw distinctions…

"I refused to just jump into the fray and attack someone who was on the national stage for the first time largely because she was a woman. I didn't think that was appropriate."

On disagreeing with President Obama about Syria:

"I thought it was important for us to get in there and whether it was covert to be honest, or overt or a combination, to do what we could to support the moderate elements and to do so to enable them to defend themselves and to organize themselves so they could be a more effective force against Assad…

"But the president, as I said, gets to make these decisions and he was not convinced that it was right for any kind of American … So what we did was try to help with the humanitarian disaster, the hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding into all the neighboring countries."

On admitting her support of the Iraq war was a mistake:

"It was…Well, as I say in the book, I did the best I could based on the information that I had. And I really sought it out, not just from the Bush administration. And I was not happy with the way the vote was used. But at the same time, I thought, 'We have young men and women in harm's way in Iraq, and I don't wanna be piling on,' if you will."

On the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap:

"I think we may be kind of missing the bigger picture here. We wanna get an American home. The army will conduct an investigation to see whether he deserves some kind of punishment because of the circumstances.

"But we do have a tradition in this country, and nearly every military officer I've seen who's spoken to it has said, 'We don't leave anybody behind.' Whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed, or they jumped, we try to rescue everybody. That's part of who we are, and that sets us apart from a lot of other countries in the world who cheapen life, who don't care."

On her relationship with Obama:

"Well, I must say, when I finally accepted the president's offer he did say, contrary to reports, 'I think we can become good friends,' and in fact we did. And the example you're talking about, we're in Prague. It's a big rollout of the president's commitment to try to limit nuclear arms. And we're meeting with all of these important types.

"So it's after lunch, and he's gonna be going somewhere; I'm gonna be going somewhere. And he takes me, he says, 'Oh, I have to see you.' And he takes move over into the corner, and he says, 'You've got something in your teeth.' I thought, 'Boy, we have each other's backs.' I mean, that was such a gracious step for him to take."

On 'Leaning In':

"Sheryl [Sandberg's] book 'Lean In' is very useful in putting in one place a lot of the research about the internal barriers. You know, there are two kinda barriers…and in much of the world, they are clearly external. They don't even give birth certificates to girls born in a lot of places. But in the developed world, a lot of those barriers are now internal. And Sheryl's done a great service by putting together all that we know about why women don't assert themselves."