Stepping down as the top American diplomat at the height of popularity, Hillary Clinton could announce her 2016 presidency bid by 2014, a media report said on Friday.
Ed Rendell, a friend of the Clinton family and a former Democratic Party chairman, has predicted that she might decide to run as soon as early 2014, lured by the prospect of becoming the first female President and an abiding interest in government service, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"If she announces fairly soon after that, she essentially pre-empts the field," Rendell was quoted as saying by the financial daily.
Clinton, 65, is scheduled to leave the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department on Friday afternoon in the presence of hundreds of State Department employees.
In her media interviews and public appearances in the last few days, she has refused to entertain any question on her 2016 presidential bid.
However, her followers have already established a political action committee "Ready for Hillary" in preparation of the 2016 run.
Clinton leaves the post of secretary of State today with a high approval rating, a strengthened resume and a loose-knit network of donors and grass-root supporters eager to make her the first woman president if she decides to re-enter politics, the report said.
Should Clinton run, "That's going to be a sharp contrast," said Amy Siskind, co-founder of The New Agenda, a woman's advocacy group that was created by 30 Clinton supporters.
"It's shameful that a man who got elected by women and people of colour and people of different sexual orientation goes and chooses a bunch of white men for top government roles," she said.
In another interview to the daily, a top adviser to US President Barack Obama said that Clinton would be a strong candidate in the 2016 presidential elections.
Should Clinton jump in the 2016 presidential contest, she would be in "a very, very strong position," Obama adviser David Axelrod said.
"She has a unique status. There are formidable people who might run for the Democratic Party nomination," Axelrod said, adding that "the vice president chief among them".
"But she has undeniable assets that would put her in a strong position relative to the rest of the field, and relative to the Republicans. The big question for her is simply whether at this point she wants to do this," he said.