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Hillary Clinton's Biggest Regret As Secretary Of State: Double Standard For Women In Politics

8:18 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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In a global "town hall" with young people today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about her legacy -- including the parallels between her tenure as secretary of state and another historical diplomat's -- and her future of helping women in politics.

"I do want to see more women compete for the highest positions in their countries," Clinton said in the "Global Townterview," a Washington event hosted by Australian newscaster Leigh Sales. Several news networks from around the world participated in the town hall via satellite, allowing young people from various countries to ask Clinton questions.

One young person from London asked Clinton whether she would run for president in 2016, providing women around the world with a strong role model.

"I am not thinking about anything like that right now," Clinton said. "I am looking forward to finishing up my tenure... and then catching up on about 20 years of sleep deprivation."

She did, however, say, "I will do everything I can to make sure women compete at the highest levels." Women need to participate in politics, she said, if governments want to take full advantage of their citizens' potential.

"Although it is better than it was, having been in and around politics for many years now, there is still a double standard" for women in politics, she said. "That exists from the trivial, like what you wear, to the incredibly serious like women [who] can't vote."

In nations like India, she pointed out, women have won the highest elected offices but in everyday life are still disrespected, as was the young woman brutally raped and murdered there.

"This has been the cause of my life and will continue to be as I leave the secretary of state's office," she said. By limiting the possibilities for women in society, "you are in effect putting breaks on your own development as a nation," Clinton said.

After four years as secretary of state, Clinton said her biggest regret was the loss of American lives in Benghazi, Libya. "We have to understand from the very beginning you can't control everything," she said.

Three congressional leaders yesterday sent Clinton a letter asking for her to turn over documents from top State Department officials regarding the Benghazi attack. They point out that investigators on the State Department Accountability Review Board never interviewed her or her top officials about the attack.

Looking back to past secretaries of state, Clinton said the one she most admires and identifies with is William Seward, who served under Abraham Lincoln.

"He was from New York, he was a very successful politician from New York," she said. "He had run against President Lincoln, so there's a little bit of parallel here in the whole 'team of rivals' concept."

She added, "I like his willingness to work with President Lincoln. He made a real difference."

By Stephanie Condon, CBS News

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