Hillary Clinton finally admits she’s ‘thinking about’ a bid for the White House
Polls showing the former first lady is the runaway favourite for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Friday 18 July 2014
Even if she can’t confirm that she’s running for President, Hillary Clinton will now at least admit that she’s considering it. The former US Secretary of State told PBS interviewer Charlie Rose that if she does make a second bid for the White House in 2016, she would do so with “a very specific agenda” for America.
Having observed two other presidencies at close quarters – those of her husband Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – Ms Clinton acknowledged that the role had become “even bigger and more difficult” in the 21st century. “I understand how the job is done, and I understand what has to be prioritised. I just have to decide or not that’s what I want to do at this point in my life,” she said. “It’s a very personal choice.”
With the Democrats in danger of ceding the Senate to the Republicans at the 2014 midterms in November, Ms Clinton added: “I’m not going to jump the line and start talking about 2016 right now.”
More than two years ahead of the next presidential election, the Democrat political machine is already poised to mobilise on Ms Clinton’s behalf, with polls showing she is the runaway favourite for the party’s nomination. Yet she insisted there were still factors that could persuade her not to run. She does not intend to make a final decision, for example, until after the birth of her first grandchild later this year. “I want to see what that feels like,” she said. “I’m not going to skip over it. I want to really be present, as I meet this … new person in our family.”
Ms Clinton, who joined the administration after losing a narrow race for the nomination with Mr Obama in 2008, was speaking to Mr Rose as part of a tour to promote Hard Choices, a memoir of her four years as Secretary of State. In interviews about the book, Ms Clinton has been increasingly candid about the fact that she is weighing another White House run.
The gruelling 2008 campaign has left her with “no illusions” about the difficulties of a presidential race. “But the campaigning, as hard as it is, is the easy part,” Ms Clinton said. “Once you get there [to the White House] you face this full array of problems.” Singling out economic inequality as one of the greatest challenges facing the US, she said the country was suffering an “economic crisis and … a political crisis of our democracy. And I think they are related.”
Speaking just hours after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, Ms Clinton also addressed the West’s relationship with Russia, suggesting the evidence pointed to Russian-backed separatists having been responsible for the disaster. The Russian President Vladimir Putin, she said, should be “put… on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by”. There should be “outrage in European capitals” over the incident, she added.
“The questions I’d be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It’s obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning,” she said “And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.”
Earlier this week, Ms Clinton appeared as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she also hinted at a possible presidential run. Probed by Mr Stewart as to her preferred workspace configuration, she made what sounded like a teasing reference to the Oval Office, saying: “The world is so complicated. We need fewer corners.”
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