Hillary Clinton's new 2016 answer?
January 29th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
10 years 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."

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"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. joe

    What is wrong with this country that we cannot find different families from which to elect our leaders.... this is what happened in Rome too. Quite pathetic

    January 29, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. BeverlyNC

    I so hope Hillary will run. She is more than qualified – tremendous foreign affairs experience and excellence in her role as Secretary of State, knows the reality of what the Presidency means from being First Lady, has been a Senator and knows how Congress works from the inside and is one tough negotiator. She would be unbeatable despite all the hate, lies,and cheating Republicans will throw at her in their desperation due to their failure as a Party with no values, no principles, and extremists destroying them from the inside out. Hillary has integirty, intelligence and is a problem solver- the opposite of all Republicans who are still obstructing all common sense legislation for jobs, infrastructure, sane gun control laws, and still trying to destroy SS, Medicare, all agencies that protect the People from the EPA to the FDA to the CDC and ending all programs for the poor – the whole 2% of them on welfare. Corporations take more government welfare than those fighting to feed their families. The nation needs progressive leaders to move the nation forward and to keep human rights alive in America.

    January 29, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Canadian

    Hilary is the right person for the job and her husband was a good president unfortunally got wrapped up in the moment but if the Americian people were smart she would be president now. She is the one the US needs to run their country vote her in she will do a very good job, time for a change, go Hilary!!!

    January 29, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Carol

    To the person who wrote, "I didn't like having two Bushes and I won't support having two Clintons in the White House". Who cares? Millions of other people will.

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

    Clinton is the best equipped and most knowledgeable of the potential 2016 candidates. That includes Biden or any of those GOP wonderboys. She understands this country and she understands the world and the challenges we face there. She is wicked smart. I can think of no better qualified person to be President of the United States. The fact that she would be the first woman president would be remarkable. Plus, Bill would make an outstanding First Gentleman...

    January 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Noah

    She was the only one to tell Repubs to back off with the Benghazi story! Their dwelling on the subject, which forced high profile people to talk about security details at the US Embassy was one of the most unpatriotic acts besides dragging us into a bloody war based on phony reasons.

    Their trashing of a US Secretary of State, and creating the whole circus on the Capitol Hill – as the whole world was watching – represented THE BIGGEST VICTORY for those terrorists!

    There is no other place on Earth where a political party would have been allowed to damage the image of their country, and project such a lack of unity, as the main result of the action of a few terrorists. It was and still is sickening!

    The 4 people dead there made them worry, but they did not worry about a Bush war which left thousands of our troops dead, and our economy crippled for generations to come. They made all those who wanted to oppose war seem unpatriotic, it worked for them then, they tried it now with the Benghazi story.

    I just hope we wake up, and stop being played as a bunch of tools every time the Republicans talk about patriotism.

    January 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. RR

    If Hillary runs, I will vote for her. She will be not a match against Mr. Po-Boy.

    January 29, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. bill perkins

    well I know this the Republicans at this point cant put a formidable candidate to run against Hilary! You might see the biggest landslide since Dukakis and Mondale, hell she was president for 8 years before, give her another 8,I'm a democrat but to be honest Biden would be hard to vote for he says some stupid crap! But given a choice between Biden or a Republican, voting straight Democratic ticket, no way the Dems will lose control of the White House till at least 2024!

    January 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. dklajkl2jkljklsjkl

    I'm completely against multiple people from the same family being president. We are not a monarchy.....

    Two bushes was bad enough, i don't think 2 clintons would be quite as bad, however its still bad enough that i would never even consider voting for her.

    Yes i know that's unfair that if someone from a family runs i don't think anyone else from that family should ever run. I understand that its not fair... However you can not tell me with a straight face that out of 200,000,000 adults in the us, that there isn't 10s of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other qualified candidates. Getting fresh blood in there is more important then appearing to be a monarchy, or appeasing the political bloodlines....

    January 29, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. John

    Will be too old by then. Health issues possible.

    January 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. LC

    Of course people refuse to respect her simply because she is a woman in politics, but in reality she is incredibly smart and would make an absolutely amazing president. I will definitely be voting for her if she decides to run!

    January 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Peter wrote:

    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. ......
    Snap out of it. Joe Biden is already in his seventies. 2016 is four years away, and the end of a potential two terms is twelve years away in 2024. Age and health will be an issue for Biden come 2016. LIke Hillary, he missed his window of best opportunity in 2008.

    However, 2008 also worked to be the best window for a junior senator from Illinois. Look at it from a 2005/2006 perspective. If he didn't run and win that year, then the most likely scenario was a Democrat winning (because of Bush and his wars) and that same Democrat being re-elected in 2012. Recent history had suggested that a Republican would be the likely winner in 2016 and would in turn be re-elected in 2020. That means the next window for a new Democratic POTUS after 2008 would not likely come until 2024, a full 16 years later. By that time, age and health could be potential campaign issues for the young senator from Illinois. Both were simply unknowns that could only be guessed at. Losing the nomination in 2008, would only put him in a better position for 2016 and 2024. Again, the tea leaves in 2005 suggested a GOP winning in 2016.

    January 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. freedom

    This is the best country on the planet where we can hold our elected officials accountable when atrocities occur. If you think this is bad, go live in a dictatorship. And those you are ctiicizing are the only force right now preventing this adminsitration from becoming one.

    January 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Jennifer

    I would vote for Hillary in a second. I would also support Biden–if both were younger. But I personally think the cutoff age should be 65. Look at McCain–two bouts of melanoma, in his 70s, with an ignorant and unfit Palin a heartbeat away. I've lived in AZ for nearly 50 years and voted for him every election (and I'm an Independent) because he was a moderate Republican. After his choice of Palin, I questioned his sanity and swore never to vote for him again. Then a screaming neo-con ran against him, and I voted for McCain after all. Both Hillary and Biden are decidedly fit for the office in experience, but will be too old. Especially as the GOP will likely run a young minority man who appeals to a wider base.

    January 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. wayne

    I will run for president and solve all of this madness. Where do I fill out an application? How hard can it be.

    January 29, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Tmangators

    I think it's funny that people always cry about life long politians, but now they want Clinton to run. She has been in politics for 20 years. She will do what is best for her, but I really think she needs to call it and relax for a while

    January 29, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Bran

    Hillary-Warren 2016

    Book it.

    January 29, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Brian Smith

    There are only four or five families with enough money and fame to run for President, so that's why Joe.

    January 29, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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