A virtual cottage industry has developed from journalists who do little else but cover — or perhaps the better term is obsess over — Hillary Clinton.
Every week there seem to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of words written about her, particularly as she kicks off her new book tour Tuesday. Considering that she is not president of the United States and no election for the job will be held until 2016, that is a pretty remarkable feat, and arguably an unprecedented one.
Now that the tour has begun, and reviews of her new book Hard Choices are appearing every few minutes, it’s like a Niagara Falls of words. Many having read the book or even just excepts are parsing its words the way Kremlinologists in our intelligence community used to examine every message from Moscow to determine the intentions of Soviet leaders. They mostly conclude that she is certainly running, while a few have creatively found what they think are unmistakable indications that she won’t.
Personally, I think all of them should take a deep breath.
The one article in recent days that seems to make more sense to me than any other is “Hillary Clinton’s Gut Check,” by National Journal‘s Alex Seitz-Wald. The article posits that Clinton’s tour, with at least 20 stops in 10 U.S. cities plus two more in Canada, offers an opportunity for the former secretary of State to test the waters, not so much in political as in personal terms. As an unnamed former aide to Clinton said in the article, “What she’s going to be asking herself is, am I having fun? Am I enjoying this? Do I really want to do this again and potentially risk losing again?” Seitz-Wald then makes the point, “While Clinton is more familiar than nearly anyone with what it’s like to run a presidential campaign, a lot has changed since her last bid eight years ago: She’s older, and the other personal costs have never been higher. Even as she’s clearly leaning toward a run, it’s a chance for due diligence.”
In my view, she almost certainly hasn’t decided whether to run, nor does she need to do so before the end of the year, and the decision could easily slip into early next year. Quite simply, there is no need to decide any sooner, so why should she? Back in February, this column pointed out that the choice to run for president is effectively a nine-year commitment. It takes about one year to run for the job. Then, if you win, you serve for four years, and we’ve almost never seen a first-term president who didn’t want to have a second term, so four more years is needed for that. This is not to argue by any means that Clinton is too old to run. After all, if elected, Clinton — who is currently 66 and will turn 67 in October — will be 69, which is exactly the same age that Ronald Reagan was when he was first elected in 1980. That works out to 73 at the end of a first term and, if reelected, 77 at the end of a second. This is a commitment for someone in her late 60s that would require almost a decade, at a time when most people are starting to think about slowing down and enjoying life a bit.
In the end, my guess is chances are 70 percent chance that she will run, but that one important data point will be how she enjoys, or doesn’t enjoy, the taste of being on the road and back in the fray.
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Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.