During remarks at Wednesday's annual Atlantic Council awards dinner in Washington, Kissinger joked that "at least four secretaries of state became president." The 89-year-old Kissinger served in the Nixon and Ford cabinets but was ineligible to run for president, having been born in Germany.
"And that sort of started focusing my mind even though there was a constitutional provision that prevented me from doing it. I thought up all kinds of schemes to get around that," he said of his own ambitions to become president.
"I want to tell Hillary that when she misses the office, when she looks at the histories of secretaries of state, there might be hope for a fulfilling life afterwards," Kissinger said in presenting Clinton with a Distinguished Leadership Award.
The 65-year-old Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination for president to Barack Obama in 2008 and then became his first-term secretary of state, incorporated Kissinger's remarks into her acceptance speech, causing laughter in the audience, CNN reported.
"When I became secretary of state, I spent a lot of time thinking about my illustrious predecessors -- not primarily the ones who went on to become president," said Clinton, who early polls indicate is the favored Democrat for the 2016 race. "But about the extraordinary generation of those leaders who were not just present at the creation but leading the creation of a liberal global order that provided unprecedented peace and prosperity along with progress on behalf of the values that we hold in common."