Clinton Cool to 2016 Run, But Speculation Remains Hot

Monday, 26 Nov 2012 10:42 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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As Hillary Clinton's term as Secretary of State winds down, she is adamant that her days in Washington are just about over.

“No, I’m not,’’ the former First Lady and New York senator told Marie Claire magazine last month when asked if she would throw her hat in the ring in a bid to become America’s first woman president.

“I have been on this high wire of national and international politics for 20 years,’’ Clinton, 65, said.

“It has been an absolutely extraordinary personal honor and experience. But I really want to just have my own time back. I want to just be my own person. I’m looking forward to that.’’

And while Clinton remains cool to the idea, the speculation she will run continues to run hot.

The Washington Post
published a long and speculative article about whether Clinton wants to occupy the Oval Office her husband Bill Clinton did for two terms.

“The truth is, though, that no one is sure what Hillary Clinton will do, possibly not even Clinton herself, who said her plans include sleeping and watching the home-improvement show ‘Love It or List It,’ which she finds calming,’’ the Post wrote.

But the article goes on to suggest that Clinton — who unsuccessfully attempted to capture the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 — is too much the consummate politician, too much the tireless campaigner, to resist.

“The answer to the question of whether Hillary Clinton will run … is another question: whether she can keep herself from it,’’ the Post speculates.

Over the past month, the White House has been in the hot seat over the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11th in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

In an effort to deflect political fallout from President Barack Obama, who appeared to be in a neck-in-neck battle with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Clinton assumed blame.

“I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts,’’ Clinton told CNN’s Elise Labott last month.

“The president and vice president certainly wouldn’t be knowledgeable about the specific decisions that are made by security professionals.’’

When asked by CNN whether the political firestorm over Benghazi would play a part in quashing her chances for a White House run, Clinton said: “That is just so far from anything that anybody should be thinking about.’’

Clinton’s overall legacy of secretary of state is also being scrutinized.
U.S. News & World Report columnist Ken Walsh wrote last week, “The fact remains that, despite her hard work, Clinton has not been associated with a historic diplomatic success as have some of her predecessors, such as Henry Kissinger with the historic U.S. opening to China during the presidency of Richard Nixon.’’

But, as Monday’s Washington Post explained, Clinton does have a laundry list of pluses on her side which seem to tip the odds in favor of her running.

“What is clear is that despite lingering questions about Benghazi,’’ the Post writes, “Clinton is more beloved than at any point in her long and at times controversial career, commanding soaring approval ratings, a vast fundraising machine and supporters who gush more than ever that she should run for president again.’’

If nothing else, the odds are certainly tipped towards Clinton when it comes to betting.

Top European betting firm Paddy Power gives Clinton 2-1 odds of running, with Vice President Joe Biden a far-distant second with odds of 12-1.

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