Hillary Clinton's new 2016 answer?
January 29th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
1 year ago

Hillary Clinton's new 2016 answer?

Washington (CNN) - It's the biggest question in campaign politics: Will Hillary Clinton run for president again, in 2016?

We heard from Clinton later Tuesday, as she sat down for an interview with CNN's Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty and Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott for "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"I am lucky because I've been very healthy. I feel great. I've got enormous amounts of energy that have to be harnessed and focused, so I'm very fortunate," she said. "I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life, whatever it is."

"I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of women and girls, hopefully writing and speaking, those are the things that I'm planning to do right now," she added.

As Clinton gets ready to leave public service and enter private life, the outgoing secretary of state appears to be changing her answer. Her comments in the CNN interview were in line with remarks she made earlier Tuesday.

"Well I'm not thinking about anything like that right now. I'm looking forward to finishing my tenure as secretary of state and catching up on 20 years of sleep deprivation," Clinton said Tuesday morning at a global townhall style forum at the Newseum in Washington.

In the event, she answered questions from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America as well as from questioners in the audience. The event was also live-tweeted in eleven different languages on Twitter, with people also participating through Facebook, YouTube and Skype.

Those answers sound different than her responses to such questions about her political future last year.

"Look, I'm flattered. I am honored," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last April, when asked about the chorus of Democrats who want Clinton to make another bid for her party's presidential nomination. "That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country."

As late as last month, Clinton continued to downplay talk of another White House run, telling ABC's Barbara Walters that "I really don't believe that that's something I will do again. I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before."

A Democratic strategist close to Clinton tells CNN not to read much into the change in language, and dismissed talk that Clinton's latest comments are any indication she's now more serious about mounting another presidential campaign. The strategist asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

Clinton's comments Tuesday came as the Senate confirmed Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state.

Kerry, the longtime senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has served on the committee for decades and has served as the panel's chairman the past four years. Obama last month nominated Kerry to succeed Clinton as the country's top diplomat.

The joint interview with the president was Obama's idea.

"I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you, because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretary of states we've had. It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I'm going to miss her," Obama said in the CBS interview.

It was the first time Obama had given a joint interview as president with anyone other than the First Lady. Was the interview a subtle endorsement by the president of Clinton, if she decides to run again in 2016?

The Democratic strategist close to Clinton says no.

"The interview was President Obama's way of putting a capper on Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, and of taking some credit for it," says the adviser. "The president's very proud he went this route of appointing his chief top rival an extremely important and high profile cabinet position and he sees her years as secretary of state as an important part of his legacy."

When asked about 2016 in the interview, the president chuckled, saying "you guys in the press are incorrigible. I was literally... [laughs] ...inaugurated four days ago, and you're talking about elections four years from now."

Obama and Clinton battled each other in tough and historic 2008 Democratic nomination battle, with Clinton dropping out in June of that year, at the conclusion of the primary and caucus calendar. After winning the general election that November, Obama asked his former rival to serve as secretary of state.

Vice President Joe Biden is also considering a 2016 bid. The vice president met with Democratic Party delegates last week, capping a number of moves he made over inauguration weekend that could be considered early signals that Biden may be laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 run for the White House.

Biden, who served nearly four decades as a senator from Delaware, unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008. On Election Day 2012, when asked if it was the last time he'd vote for himself, the vice president said "No, I don't think so."

But when asked last week in an interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger if there were any reasons why he wouldn't run in 2016, Biden said "there's a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn't run. Um, I haven't made that decision. And I don't have to make that decision for a while."

A Democratic strategist close to Biden sees the Obama-Clinton interview as a parting gift to the secretary of state, and doesn't see the teaming up on TV as any threat to Biden. The strategist also asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last month, 85% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic Party said they'd be very or somewhat likely to support Clinton if she makes another bid for the Democratic nomination, with two-thirds of Democrats questioned saying they would be very or somewhat likely to support Vice President Joe Biden if he runs. Other possible 2016 candidates mentioned in the survey trailed Biden by at least 10 points.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. JeffinIL

    I didn't like having two Bushes and I won't support having two Clintons in the White House

    January 29, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Peter

    To the previous poster who said "Biden cannot win", I disagree completely. I think Biden might have a decent chance in 2016. He is easily one of the most competent, experienced, and above all, honest people in US politics.

    But right now 2016 is 1,000,000 years away. Its impossible to know who the frontrunners might be. And how many times have we seen the frontrunners lose out before the race really gets into full gear? Happens all the time.

    I'd welcome Biden, Clinton, and many other fine democrats for consideration as President. The democrats tend to get it right. Whereas the GOP just keeps choosing the wrong person. Mitt Romney's campaign was one of the most ridiculous I have ever seen.

    January 29, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Anton

    Run.

    We need you as our first female president and if the saying 2 for 1 was ever true it would be with your candidacy.

    January 29, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Tommy Boy

    Oh Hillary....PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE run. I will enjoy watching the republicans collective heads explode as they try to discredit you. We need 8 more years of a Clinton in the White House.

    January 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Sid

    she's not "changing" her answer any more than she did in '08. I'm not anti-Hillary (she'd probably have my vote at this point) but it's hilarious that people are acting like this has even been in doubt...

    January 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. wu

    I think she won't run again. She will enjoy her private life.

    January 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The Truth Hurts wrote:

    Hilary does not look healthy at all. I don't think the American peopel will vote for someone who looks that ill...
    ------------------–
    I tend to agree with that observation. She looks tired. Having traveled a million miles over the past 4 years is the equivalent of circling the equator 10 times per year. That's almost once per month, and I'd hope she worked in some vacation druing the other two months each year.

    By the time 2016 gets here, she will be 70 years old and looking at another potential 8 as POTUS....until 2024, which is twelve years from now. Look at how much she has aged since 2000, the past twelve years. ... I just don't see Hillary Clinton running in 2016 with age and health not being an issue. Her window of best opportunity was 2008.

    January 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. Mary

    I'd vote for her

    January 29, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Dennis

    Dan
    :The democrats want to enslave us to the state."

    The Republicans want to enslave us to the Rich!

    January 29, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. a dude

    like the kool aid man said, "OH YEAH!"

    January 29, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Crop1981

    Hillary is going to be a little "too long in the tooth" for me by the time 2016 rolls around.

    January 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. empresstrudy

    What makes you think The Great Obama is leaving office?

    January 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. Geezer

    If Hillary runs and she will, it will scare the bejezzus out of the GOP. She'll have women, minorities and a lot of men voting for her. Tea Party hate candidates will take a beating.

    January 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. marty

    Hillary Clinton has, by her actions and her deeds, proven to be an outstanding wife, mother, politician and patriot. Those who verbally demonize her are generally mentally challenged, vapid or consumed with envy. Hopefully she will consider being a presidential candidate in 2016.

    January 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. dan

    She was practising for the office at her hearing the other day when she was seeing how many lies the press would let her get away with without her having to answer for them.

    January 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Donna

    It would be interesting to know the thoughts of American citizens such as U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods regarding Clinton running in 2016, but we never will because they were murdered while Hillary Clinton and Obama sat on their hands and did nothing to help these Americans. But heck....."What difference at this point does this make?"

    January 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Tam

    Biden will be in his 70s - time for a rest. I wouldn't want anyone in his/her 70s as Pres.

    January 29, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Ann

    I like VP Biden a lot but Hillary is the best candidate for President from not only the Democratic party but she is the best that could come from any party. Please Hillary run....you would not only make women proud but youwould do a wonderful job for this country. No one has ever served in such differnet capacities or given so much.

    January 29, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. bobowen

    madame clinton need not RUN. a slow deliberate and dignified WALK will suffice.....

    January 29, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Geezer

    Why don't you just run a Seseme St. bolg site where no-one can take offense at anything.

    January 29, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Name

    Haha...Good luck with that Liberals. I know how desperate all of you Libtards are to keep a Dem ss president but I am here to tell you ...its a pipe dream! You forget that 48 percent of Americans do NOT favor Obama and the Democratic party. After your welfare king gets done destroying America there wont be a single person that will want that again...but its fun reading all of your blogs on this "fair & balanced" website. ..LMAO

    January 29, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Boo

    We just had an election....give us a break, CNN!!!! Enough already....

    January 29, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. infidelbob

    Can't wait. I should have my citizenship by then and she will get my first vote.

    January 29, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. freedom

    @Tom
    She put her country first?? If that were the case, she wouldn't have lied over the flag-draped caskets of the murdered ambassador and servicemen, and she would have spoken the truth at the hearing. She has only ever put herself first – she wants power – at any cost.

    January 29, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Brent

    I think this same question should be asked on a NON BIASED website. I think you will see a different result. You Liberals live in your own world.

    January 29, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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