Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added a paid speech to her calendar in mid-March, complicating the time-frame for when she might announce a potential second run for the presidency.
On March 19, Clinton will give the keynote address at a conference organized by the New York and New Jersey chapter of the American Camp Association. The conference bills itself as the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world.
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Susie Lupert, the group’s executive director, confirmed to msnbc that Clinton will be paid for her appearance. “She is being paid for this speech. We went through the regular channels,” Lupert said. Lupert stopped short at specifying how much, however.
The timing of Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential run remains very much up in the air. The first time Clinton ran for president, she announced her candidacy on January 20, 2007. Many Clinton allies and observers had expected a similar announcement date, but the addition of paid speeches deeper into 2015 complicates the matter.
Clinton could run and continue to collect money for speeches, but her speaking fees -- which range up to $300,000 -- have been controversial and would likely be a political headache. She could also cancel the appearances after an announcement. But the fact that she’s adding new bookings shows that Clinton has not fully made up her mind on timing, or even if she’ll run, Clinton allies say.
Asked about timing at a recent gathering of the pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary, former Clinton White House political director Craig Smith said no one really knows. "I’ve given up on speculating on that. There’s the get in early crowd, the get in late crowd. All I know is I’ve got to keep going until the day she decides," said Smith, who is now advising Ready for Hillary.
The former secretary of state will also give what appears to be a paid speech in Silicon Valley in late February, as Politico first reported, and two speeches in Canada sponsored by a bank.
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Her scheduled appearance in March at the camp association may be more in keeping with themes Clinton will likely include if she runs for the White House. “The camp business is all about youth development and learning outside of school,” Lupert said. And Clinton’s “passion for youth development is clear. The importance of early education is clear. And she just seems to fit really well with what we are trying to do in this industry.”
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The Tri-State CAMP Conference, which will be held at the Atlantic City Convention Center in New Jersey, expects to draw 3,000 camp professionals, camp staff, youth development professionals, and "out of school" experiential educators, according to a press release.
Lupert said her group considered that Clinton might be running for president, but said they have long wanted to bring her to their conference. “It's something that we obviously considered,” she said, while stressing that the non-profit is “completely non-political.”
The date for conference was set three years in advance.
Clinton’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.