In her first interview since leaving the State Department, Hillary Clinton is once again stirring speculation of a possible 2016 presidential bid.
“I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country,” Clinton told New York Magazine’s Joe Hagan. “I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”
In the interview, released Sunday, Clinton said she was in “no hurry” to make a decision on a presidential bid.
“The reason I think this is worthy of discussion is, first of all, it’s New York, and New York has a special feeling for Hillary Clinton,” Chris Matthews said on Hardball. “It’s home cooking up there. They love her…they want her to run…New York media is her home base media and she has fed them. She has fed New York Magazine,” he said.
Whether or not this interview was the beginning of a “roll out” is still unclear but many of the signs that plant the seed for a presidential run were there. The former secretary of state demonstrated her own independence throughout the interview with tales of her successes at the State Department, leading with a new managerial style as a result of the drama that unfolded during her 2008 campaign, and a demonstration to donors and supporters that lessons of 2008 have been learned and will not be repeated.
“She’s worked as hard or harder than anyone else in this town for more than 20 years,” said Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton.
But not all Clinton supporters were impressed with the article’s subtle (or not so subtle) message affixing blame and laying the responsibility of that 2008 primary loss at the feet former Clintonites.
“They should stop blaming people and talk about her record at the State Department,” said one Democrat close to Bill and Hillary Clinton who was critical of those in the Hagan piece who took shots at former Clinton disciples.
“Hillary has a great record which is only demeaned by the blame game and that’s what people hated about 2008,” said another national Democrat with close ties to the Clinton machine. “Ironically, the team is repeating those mistakes,” they said. “Smartly, Hillary has never done that.”
Others were impressed, not only with casualness Clinton handles the interview, but that she committed to the public exposure at all and that her inner circle had clearly given the green light to confidantes and former advisers to talk to Hagan.
“Ten or 20 years ago, it was a process full of angsts for them,” said Myers referring to Hillary and her team. Now, Myers said, “it suggests a more confident with the press Hillary Clinton.”
Clinton also put some distance between herself and President Obama, to whom she acknowledged having a close personal friendship with, but also reminding readers that she was in the room for some of the major triumphs of the Obama White House like the decision to raid Osama bin-Laden’s compound.
“I had a very positive set of interactions, even when I disagreed, which obviously occurred,” Clinton told Hagan. “Because obviously I have my own opinions, my own views,” she said.
Clinton demonstrated that while she was a team player in the Obama administration, she’s also her own person. She wouldn’t be running for a third Clinton term or a third Obama term but running for her own term.
“I don’t think she was distancing,” said the national Democrats with close ties to the Clinton machine. “She is and always has been her own person.”
Part of being her own person will be seen through the prism of who Hillary surrounds herself with between now and 2016. Will former President Clinton install his own troops into Hillaryland, will we see a return of long-time Clinton veterans, or will a fresh crop of strategists untouched by the stain of ‘08’s melodrama who can steer Hillary in a crisp direction of a modern and focused campaign enlist for battle?
Much of the consternation and frustration with Clinton world had to do with reported infighting and disorganization in the upper echelons of the ‘08 operation and supporters want to see changes made including new faces surrounding the former Secretary ahead of the next run for the White House.
“I don’t think she’s overly concerned with process now,” said Myers. “Of course you’ll see new faces because lot has changed in campaigns over the last eight years,” she said. “That’s not to say that Mark [Penn] wouldn’t be able to keep up but people like Guy Cecil and Robby Mook would be great choices to run that campaign.”
Cecil, as MSNBC.com reported last year, lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Democrats to an expanded majority in 2012. Mook, a former Executive Director at the DCCC is currently running Clinton pal’s Terry McAuliffe campaign for governor of Virginia.