WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:
Nondenial denial: “Stay tuned. When I know, you’ll know.” — May, to Maryland audience. Says she’ll decide this year whether to run.
Book: Yes, again. Previously published author has “Hard Choices” scheduled for release June 10, about her years as secretary of state, with book tour likely to follow.
Visited Iowa: No. Steering clear of the early caucus/primary states. But Ready for Hillary, a super political action committee laying national groundwork for her potential candidacy, now is mobilizing for her in the state. The group dispatched 250 volunteers to Democratic county conventions to drum up support for her. (Third-place shocker in 2008 caucuses won by Barack Obama portended scrappy nomination fight to come.)
Visited New Hampshire: No. But Ready for Hillary is already working for her there. The group courted New Hampshire local officials, union leaders and the state Democratic chairman in a January visit and returned in March for a series of meetings with state lawmakers and organizers. (She beat Obama in 2008 primary to regain traction in nomination contest.)
South Carolina: No. But things are stirring. At a May meeting in Columbia partly sponsored by Ready for Hillary, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine urged Democratic women to “think about pledging your support right now” to ensure she has “millions of us ready to take the field with her” if she runs. (Distant second to Obama in 2008 primary.)
Foreign travel: Do birds fly? Former secretary of state doesn’t need to globe-trot any time soon. Spent 401 days overseas, flying nearly 1 million miles. Limited overseas travel in 2013: honorary degree at St. Andrews University in Scotland in September; trip to London in October for a diplomacy award and a fundraising concert for the family’s foundation. Attended memorial services for Nelson Mandela in South Africa in December. Two recent speeches in Canada.
Meet the money: Can tap deep well of Democratic and activist money. She’s been raising money for Clinton foundation. Supporters launched a super PAC, Ready for Hillary, to support another presidential run, raising more than $4 million in 2013 and $1.7 million in first three months of 2014. Priorities USA said in January 2014 it will back Clinton if she runs, a sign that senior members of President Barack Obama’s campaign team are lining up behind her. Prominent bundlers such as Hollywood moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban have signaled support. Clinton worked fundraising circuit to help Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor in Virginia and Bill de Blasio’s mayoral bid in New York City. Both won.
Networking: A steady presence now on the speaking circuit, delivering paid speeches to industry groups and conferences and appearing before a number of groups with ties to the Democratic coalition, including stops on college campuses in Miami, Los Angeles and Tempe. Accepted lifetime achievement award from American Jewish Congress in March. Crossed paths again with potential GOP rival Jeb Bush at education event in Texas in March, six months after he awarded her the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia in his capacity as chairman of the National Constitution Center.
Hog the TV: No. But late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed her at Arizona State University in March, when she called for a mass movement against global warming. Largely avoided TV interviews in 2013, giving a few when she departed the State Department, then sitting down with ABC’s Barbara Walters, who named her the “Most Fascinating Person of 2013″ in December. She appeared jointly with Obama on CBS’s “60 Minutes” early in 2013. NBC dropped a planned miniseries about her under pressure both from her allies and from Republicans.
Do something: For now, a record to be judged as secretary of state, senator and first lady. Through the Clinton Foundation, she has launched an initiative to help children’s health and a separate partnership to promote women and girls.
Take a stand: In May speech to mental health conference, challenged a “way out of balance” gun culture and the expectation that “anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime,” injecting herself into a more contentious subject than previous post-Cabinet speeches on the economy, housing and opportunities for women. Obama objected to her proposed individual mandate for health insurance in 2008 only to adopt it in office. After Russia sent troops to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Clinton likened Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.
Baggage: Age, Benghazi, and the politics of being a Clinton. She would be 69 on Inauguration Day in 2017. She lived through some grueling days as secretary of state. She counters with recollections of her energetic schedule as top diplomat. Republicans would love to pin blame on her for the 2012 deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. She does just fine politically, until she gets political. Then her old enemies come out of the woodwork. In long-confidential documents released from Bill Clinton’s administration, advisers urged her to “be real” and “humanize” herself, revealing concerns about her authenticity as a public figure.
Shadow campaign: Keeping a traditional shadow campaign at arm’s length for now but she’s got a steamroller behind her. Ready for Hillary super PAC has received endorsements from Democrats such as Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; several old Clinton hands are advising the group, including Craig T. Smith and Harold Ickes. The group is encouraging Clinton to run and laying a foundation of grassroots supporters for a campaign if Clinton chooses to pursue one.
Social media: About 1.2 million followers on Twitter, her preferred social media outlet. In a tweet on Super Bowl Sunday, Clinton needled Fox News, the cable network that has often been critical of Democrats. “It’s so much more fun to watch FOX when it’s someone else being blitzed & sacked!” Clinton’s quip was retweeted more than 57,000 times.
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