By KEN THOMAS
2014-06-08 11:42 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's decision on seeking the White House again could stretch into 2015, and she's making no commitments about testifying before a select congressional committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya.
In an excerpt of an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday, the former secretary of state said potential primary rivals are free to "do whatever they choose to do on whatever timetable they decide."
"I just want to get through this year, travel around the country, sign books, help in the midterm elections in the fall and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses," said Clinton, who is setting off on a tour this week to promote her new book, "Hard Choices."
Clinton remains the leading Democratic presidential contender in 2016. She said she would decide on running "when it feels right for me to decide," adding she would be "on the way to making a decision by the end of the year." At speeches and public events, Clinton has been routinely asked by supporters whether she will run for president and has said previously she would make up her mind by the end of 2014.
Asked by ABC's Diane Sawyer whether she would decide by the end of the year, Clinton said, "certainly not before then."
Would her announcement stretch into next year? Clinton said she was "not positive about next year. But the way I make decisions, that's probably likely."
Some Democrats privately worry that if Clinton holds off on making a decision and then opts against running, potential candidates like Vice President Joe Biden, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and several Democratic senators would be at a disadvantage against Republicans who have been actively pursuing the White House.
"I just don't think that's a real concern," Clinton said, noting that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, launched his presidential bid in the fall of 1991, only months before the New Hampshire primary.
Republicans have questioned Hillary Clinton's handling the 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. Asked whether she will testify before a new congressional committee investigating the attacks, Clinton said that will be up to the people running the hearing.
"I'm not going to say one way or another," Clinton said. "We'll see what they decide to do, how they conduct themselves: Whether this is one more travesty about the loss of four Americans or whether this is in the best tradition of the Congress, an effort to try and figure out what we can do better."