The American Camp Association
may not be the most notable organization, but it made news on Monday when it was announced that Hillary Clinton would be addressing the group's annual conference in March 2015.
"We are thrilled that Secretary Clinton will be speaking at the American Camp Association, NY and NJ's Tri-State CAMP Conference. Secretary Clinton's work in raising public awareness about the importance of early childhood education and the wellness of our families aligns seamlessly with the work that camp professionals have been providing for children for over a century," said Andy Pritikin, the association's president, in a press release.
The release set off speculation about what Clinton's decision to deliver a paid speech meant in terms of the timing of a possible presidential announcement.
The Wall Street Journal
noted that the March 2015 appearance comes at a "point on the calendar that raises questions about when she will announce her decision on running for president and whether she intends to leave the Democratic Party uncertain of her plans until next spring."
said that the significance of the timing complicates "the time-frame for when she might announce a potential second run for the presidency."
With Clinton offering only vague comments about when and if she will commit to launch a presidential campaign, political analysts are left to divine her intentions by examining speech schedules.
Clinton began negotiations with ACA in the summer, although executive director Susie Lupert declined to say how much she would be paid for the speech.
“We often have high profile people and it seemed like, wow, if we could get someone like her at this moment, that would be a real coup for our organization,” Lupert said in an interview with The Journal.
Former Clinton White House political director Craig Smith said he has stopped wondering when she will announce, saying that he has "given up" on speculating about her plans.
"There’s the get in early crowd, the get in late crowd. All I know is I’ve got to keep going until the day she decides,” Smith, an adviser to Clinton's political action committee Ready for Hillary, told MSNBC.
Given the criticism she has received for accepting between $200,000 and $300,000 per appearance, many believe Clinton would wait until after her paid commitments are concluded to make a formal announcement.
Some aides believe Clinton will wait until later in 2015 to announce, while others see her repeating the schedule she adopted for her 2008 campaign, when she declared in January 2007, reports CNN
"If she hasn't said no by January, it will be a sign she is running," a former Clinton aide told CNN during a November strategy session in New York.
As reporters continue to speculate over the timing, Clinton has been working toward forming a campaign staff, including meeting with possible campaign managers, Politico
reported last week.
She recently met with outgoing Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil and with Robby Mook, both who have been rumored to be under consideration for the role of campaign manager.
“As [Clinton] decides, she’s casting a wide net and wants to hear from a variety of people on a range of specific topics, from policy ideas to what a successful campaign would look like," Clinton's spokesman Nick Merrill told Politico.
Others outside of Clinton's inner circle are paying attention to the calendar and the shrinking window of opportunity for a potential challenger.
Ilya Sheyman, executive director for MoveOn.org, told The New York Times
that the group plans to open Elizabeth Warren offices and hire staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, and to launch a website, “Run Warren Run.”
“We want to demonstrate to Senator Warren that there’s a groundswell of grass-roots energy nationally and in key states and to demonstrate there’s a path for her,” said Sheyman, who is not working in coordination with Warren.
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