Four years ago, Hillary Clinton arrived at the State Department to cheers and applause. To this day, I cannot watch that video without getting choked up. It was such a momentous occasion, and not just because it was Hillary Clinton, and not just because it was so meaningful that she had been offered and had accepted a prominent role in the Obama administration, but because it was a marked end to the Bush administration's state policies, which treated diplomacy like a dirty word.
I remember, among all the feelings I had that day, a sense of overwhelming relief. I knew Clinton's tenure would not be perfect, and that she was always going to be more hawkish than I will ever be, but we went from a foreign policy of belligerent aggression and black-and-white thinking to a foreign policy shaped by nuance and good faith, and it mattered.
Last Friday, Hillary Clinton left the State Department, and she went out the same way she came in: To the sound of cheers and applause.
[Full transcript here.]
I know that the world we are trying to help bring into being in the 21st century will have many difficult days, but I am more optimistic today than I was when I stood here four years ago, because I have seen, day after day, the many contributions that our diplomats and development experts are making to help ensure that this century provides the kind of peace, progress, and prosperity that not just the United States, but the entire world, especially young people, so richly deserve. I am very proud to have been Secretary of State.Thank you for your service, Secretary Clinton.
I will miss you.