Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may not officially be running for president yet, but the only thing missing is a formal announcement. The last 48 hours have been full of what will likely become the hallmarks of a future Clinton campaign: a Bill and Hillary Clinton media blitz, obsessive media attention to it, and Clintonworld attempts to stage manage it all.
In her first interview with a news organization since leaving Foggy Bottom, Clinton acknowledges publicly for the first time that she’s thinking about running for president. Asked by New York Magazine whether she wrestles with a run, she says, “I do, but 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. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”
Also striking: a suggestion by Hillary Clinton’s aides that Bill Clinton’s part in a 2016 would be more subdued than his vocal 2008 advocacy. “He had a very minimal presence in her time at the State Department,” one State Department aide tells the magazine. “It’s kind of jarring when she says ‘Bill,’ ” this person adds, recalling meetings with Hillary Clinton. “Well, who’s Bill? And then you realize that she’s talking about her husband.”
But, in a reminder that Clintonworld drama may not be quite so easy to leave in the past, The New Republic also has published an unflattering profile of Doug Band, Bill Clinton’s longtime personal aide, who was instrumental in the conception of the Clinton Global Initiative, then went on to start his own corporate consulting firm, Teneo. The magazine describes “an undertow of transactionalism in the glittering annual dinners, the fixation on celebrity, and a certain contingent of donors whose charitable contributions and business interests occupy an uncomfortable proximity…. At its heart, the unease with Band reflects an unease with the phenomenon of post-presidential Clintonism itself.”
Post-presidential Clintonism will get renewed attention this week, as President Obama pays homage to the Clintons, and sells his health care law, on Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative. Former President Clinton kicked off a CGI media blitz on Sunday, defending his presidency in an interview with CNN. He responded to the contention that the election of New York City’s de Blasio, and the collapse of Democratic support for Larry Summers, represent “the end of the Clinton Democrats.” “Well, first of all, there’s probably something to that. America’s growing more liberal culturally and more diverse. But, again, let’s not get carried away here. I ran on income inequality in 1992, when I was the governor of my state. I took 25 percent of the people out from under the state income tax, the bottom 25 percent. In my first congressional session, we raised taxes on high-income people, on corporations; we cut taxes on the working poor.”
Watch Chuck Todd’s full conversation with The Daily Rundown Gaggle on the Clinton campaign below.