Hillary Clinton’s Few Moments of Peace Are Almost Over

Her June book tour sets in motion a series of events that will keep her busy and in the spotlight indefinitely.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 10: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries conference on April 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton is continuing on a speaking tour this week with the stop at the recycling industry trade conference.
National Journal
Alex Seitz Wald
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Alex Seitz-Wald
May 5, 2014, 4:52 p.m.

Elec­tion Day 2016 may be 916 days away, but if she de­cides to run, things will start to speed up quickly for former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, with a book tour and en­su­ing chain of events that could keep her oc­cu­pied un­til voters head to the polls in Novem­ber 2016.

In fact, the next five weeks and then a va­ca­tion planned for Au­gust could be among Clin­ton’s last few mo­ments of re­l­at­ive peace and quiet for the next two and a half years — or po­ten­tially a dec­ade if things go really well for her.

Clin­ton has nev­er really stepped out of the pub­lic eye and is not one to rest idle, but she’s en­joyed more pri­vacy since leav­ing gov­ern­ment. She’s filled her time with “beaches and speeches,” as she of­ten quips, trav­el­ing around the coun­try col­lect­ing awards and heady speak­ing fees (while dodging the oc­ca­sion­al shoe).

When not trav­el­ing, she’s de­voted her­self to pet pro­jects at the Clin­ton fam­ily’s char­it­able found­a­tion, in­clud­ing de­cidedly non­polit­ic­al ef­forts like work­ing to save ele­phants from poach­ers in Africa.

She and her skel­et­on crew of few­er than 10 aides can tightly con­trol her sched­ule and ac­cess to the me­dia, keep­ing her at least partly out of the gaze of a press with whom she’s had a fam­ously rocky re­la­tion­ship.

But all that will change soon when Clin­ton launches a tour to pro­mote her new mem­oir, Hard Choices, which is sched­uled for re­lease on June 10. In 2003, when her last book, Liv­ing His­tory, came out, that meant vis­it­ing two dozen cit­ies across the coun­try, greet­ing fans for hours at a time, and sign­ing so many cop­ies that she had to dunk her hands in ice wa­ter at the end of the day to dull the pain.

Liv­ing His­tory was re­leased on June 9 of that year, al­most the ex­act same date as Hard Choices, and it kept her on the road un­til mid-Au­gust. That’s just about the time that Hil­lary and Bill Clin­ton are ex­pec­ted to re­treat to a ren­ted va­ca­tion home on Long Is­land.

Fol­low­ing a brief res­pite, Clin­ton is ex­pec­ted to hit the trail on be­half of 2014 can­did­ates some­time after Labor Day. While it re­mains to be seen what she’ll be do­ing this year for Demo­crats, even a re­l­at­ively light sched­ule of fun­draisers and speeches that keeps her off the stump would put her squarely in the polit­ic­al fray that she’s tried hard to avoid since leav­ing gov­ern­ment.

So far, she’s lim­ited her polit­ic­al activ­ity to close friends — like the 2013 cam­paign for Vir­gin­ia Gov. Terry McAul­iffe — and fam­ily. Her first for­ay in­to the 2014 cycle comes on be­half of Pennsylvania con­gres­sion­al can­did­ate Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies, the moth­er of Chelsea Clin­ton’s hus­band, Marc Mezv­in­sky.

After the midterm elec­tion, if Clin­ton has not ruled out a pres­id­en­tial run, the pres­sure on her will only in­crease as the polit­ic­al world turns its full at­ten­tion to 2016. Pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates typ­ic­ally an­nounce in the first half of the year fol­low­ing the last midterm, and the trend has only moved earli­er. Clin­ton an­nounced her 2008 bid in late Janu­ary 2007, and then-Sen. Barack Obama fol­lowed close be­hind in Feb­ru­ary.

Clin­ton can’t an­nounce be­fore the midterm, but with so much an­ti­cip­a­tion and such a strong po­s­i­tion, many ex­pect her to fol­low her script from 2008 and an­nounce soon­er rather than later.

From there, she’d be off to lock­ing up sup­port in early primary states, with the Iowa caucuses and New Hamp­shire primary just about a year away. If Clin­ton re­mains as strong in a Demo­crat­ic primary as she’s ex­pec­ted to be, the gen­er­al elec­tion might also get un­der way even soon­er than usu­al, with Re­pub­lic­ans look­ing to take shots at her.

It seems far away, but the elec­tion is sneak­ing up every day. There may be pock­ets of rest some­where here and there, but un­less Clin­ton drops out be­fore then, she’s look­ing at a mara­thon to 2016 that kicks off in just over a month.

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