Veteran political analyst Charlie Cook says he never predicted that Hillary Clinton is unlikely to run for president.
Cook, the publisher of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, caused a stir this weekend among 2016 watchers when the Kansas City Star reported that he told a private gathering in the city that the former secretary of state is unlikely to throw her hat in the ring.
Cook “believes Hillary Clinton has only a 25-30% chance of running for president, and in any case he thinks she is either ‘rusty’ or ‘she has lost her fastball,’” the paper reported.
Since most observers think a Clinton candidacy is a nearly foregone conclusion, the remark attracted plenty of attention among journalists on Twitter was aggregated by several major national publications, including msnbc.
But Cook says the report is wrong.
“I have never said that the odds of her running were less than 60%. Clearly this person misheard me. From other conversations with people over dinner, after my speech, no one else heard 25-30 chance of running,” Cook told msnbc.
He pointed to two columns he has written in the past pegging Clinton’s chances of running at 70%. At a event hosted in July by the National Journal, where Cook writes a weekly column, he said there was as low as a 60% chance she does not run. But a 25-30% chance of running would be dramatically different from what he’s said previously.
Kansas City Star columnist Steve Rose, who reported Cook’s remarks at the private dinner in Kansas City, told msnbc he apologized to Cook for getting the quote wrong. “All I can say is I must have misheard Charlie, and I did not have a chance for followup after the event,” he said in an email.
Editor’s Note: This piece originally included the Kansas City Star’s reporting. We have since corrected the piece.