Hillary Clinton’s failed run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination left her public image dented. Four years later, she looks stronger than ever. The Secretary of State, 65, enjoys sky-high approval ratings and even has a new cool factor, thanks to the Tumblr blog “Texts from Hillary” (which was based on TIME photographer Diana Walker’s famous shot of a sunglasses-wearing Clinton reading her BlackBerry on a military plane). Not that Clinton’s final year as America’s top diplomat has been frivolous. An attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya took the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens, the first ambassador killed in action in 24 years. That put Clinton in the hot seat over diplomatic security, which she has made a priority during her final months in office. (Clinton says she’ll stick around until her replacement is confirmed.) Meanwhile, she has been juggling other crises in the restive Middle East, from working to unite the fractious Syrian opposition to plunging into the November conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
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