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Barbara Lee Headshot

Hillary Clinton's Curtain Call?

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Getty Images

She's been First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. United States Senator Clinton. And, most notably on the eve of her resignation, Secretary of State Clinton. Let's add Madame President to this list.

She certainly has the chops.

I've known Hillary Clinton since her days as First Lady, and I've been a strong personal and public supporter ever since. I remember sharing my early, nonpartisan research on women's campaigns with her before she was a candidate herself.

Hillary is the woman who famously put "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" when she ran for president in 2008. She was the first First Lady to hold a graduate degree. She was the First Lady who took a hands-on approach to policy development. She helped pass CHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, a federal effort that provided state support for children's health-insurance coverage. She helped to create the Office of Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice.

She was the country's chief diplomat who logged nearly one million miles traveling to 112 countries -- more than any Secretary of State to date -- while hitting a personal record-high favorability rating of 66 percent.

Facing a Senate panel filled with men, Hillary's performance at the recent Benghazi hearings demonstrated her well-earned reputation for results and resilience. Her testimony revealed her qualifications, confidence and competence as a leader.

We know women must show these traits right out of the gate. Voters want to know a woman can be effective in the largely male game of politics. Hillary's ability to navigate the game is clear.

As Secretary of State, Hillary deepened her credentials by tightening sanctions on Iran, representing the United States' response to the Arab Spring, positioning women's equality as a centerpiece of her work globally and championing gay rights around the world.

Add to that her soaring pop-culture street cred -- Texts from Hillary garnered more than 45,000 Tumblr followers and 8,400 Twitter followers in a week, and a video of her dancing in South Africa quickly went viral--and we see a potent combination of qualification and likeability.

Hillary's resume prerequisites for a presidential run are outweighed only by her panache -- a novel brand of cool she's cultivated over more than two decades in the political spotlight. Hers is a well-earned confidence that she makes seem effortless.

Yet we know women are under stricter scrutiny than men, making her accomplishments and popularity even larger feats.

"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it," Hillary famously said on the last day of her presidential campaign. "And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time."

This is not good-bye to Hillary Clinton. It's until next time.

Let's have an encore.