Hillary Clinton hinted at a possibly expedited timeline for her potential presidential plans Monday, saying she would make a decision on a run after the midterm elections.
“I’ve been dodging this question now for a year and a half or more. I’m going to keep dodging it, certainly until the midterm elections are over,” she said during an event in Ottawa, Canada. “I’m thinking hard about it. But I’m not going to really bear down and think hard about it in a way you make a decision until after these elections."
Previously, during a speech in Mexico, Clinton said she would make a decision “after the first of the year.” Clinton announced her last presidential bid on Jan. 20, 2008. Of course, the first of the year is after the midterm elections, so she could still wait until January, but this is earliest window she has opened yet.
Her comments came during a Q&A with Canadian bank executive Victor Dodig at an event hosted by the progressive think tank Canada 2020 in Ottawa.
As expected, Clinton ducked another question on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which the Canadian government has been pushing Washington to approve. “I can’t really talk about it,” she said, explaining that she doesn’t want to “undermine” the ongoing approval process.
The State Department must approve any pipeline that crosses international boundaries. Clinton oversaw that process as secretary, but she has completely dodged the issue since stepping down.
Clinton said she expects next month’s Senate midterm elections to be “close,” and that the Republican agenda is “woefully inadequate” to solving the problems the country faces today.
“It’s going to be a turnout election, and that’s challenging,” she said. “Because in the second term of any president, with one exception, namely my husband, the party of the president loses seats.”
In her prepared remarks, Clinton praised Canada and its close relationship with the United States, saying she loved visiting the country "before and after I lost my anonymity.” “I used to have a lot of fun when I was anonymous,” she added.
The former secretary of state also gushed about being a new grandmother. “It's just better than I thought,” she told Dodig. “One of the only experiences in life that is not overrated.”
She even said that being president might not be more “exciting” than being a grandmother. And Clinton plans to let her granddaughter choose a nickname for her -- “unless the choice is really unfortunate," in which case she may have to impose one of her own.
Clinton elaborated on why she believed military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is both "critical" and "essential.”
While she estimated there are 50,000 to 100,000 “hardcore jihadists” on the planet, she said ISIS is the only group so far that wants to pick up the work of the original al-Qaida organization and target victims in the West.
She added that she refuses to call the group the “Islamic State,” because “they are neither Islamic nor a state.”
When she served as President Obama's secretary of state, Clinton pushed the administration to arm moderate Syrian rebels earlier, but was overridden.
Clinton also took a tougher line on former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom she called “untrustworthy” and accused of turning the Iraqi Army into a “sectarian arm of his leadership." More has to be done, she said, to make Arab governments inclusive of minorities so they don’t enflame radicals.