Clinton took advantage of a slip by her interviewer, who noted that "if…you decided to be leader of the United States" before correcting himself by noting "or actually run for that [office], because there is a process…"
The former first lady decided to go off on a playful tangent, noting "yes, there is a process. It's not like Putin. I mean you could imagine the conversation with Putin. You know, he was the prime minister after he was president and one day he says, 'Vladimir, you think you'd like to be president again? I think I would like that. Why don't we just go announce it? We'll tell Dmitri [Medvedev] that he could be prime minister. Excellent, excellent idea.' Yeah, we have a process, yes."
Clinton was referring to Putin's decision to run for a third, non-consecutive term for the Russian presidency in 2012, which is legal under Russian constitutional law.
The Washington Post could not help but point out that, consciously or unconsciously, Mrs. Clinton's impression of Putin "sounds an awful like bad impressions of another former head of state: her husband [Bill Clinton]."
Clinton's playful prodding is a far cry from much harsher commentary made last March, when the former Secretary of State compared the Russian president to Hitler, arguing that Crimea's decision to rejoin Russia was "what Hitler did back in the '30s." Putin was noted to have replied to Mrs. Clinton's remarks by noting that "Mrs. Clinton has never been known for the elegance of her remarks…When people push the boundaries of common decency too far, it's not because they are strong, but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman."