The NYT reports: Clinton Silent on 2016 Bid as Campaign-Style Actions Begin to Speak Volumes
She is building stamina through tough new workouts with a personal trainer and yoga. She is talking about how to address income inequality without alienating corporate America. And she is reviewing who’s who in the Democratic Party in Iowa, a crucial early voting state in the presidential cycle.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has said publicly that she will decide early next year whether she will undertake a second campaign for the presidency. But inside the Clinton operation, the groundwork is already quietly being laid for a candidacy.
On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton will appear at the 37th annual Iowa steak fry hosted by Senator Tom Harkin; it will be her most overtly political appearance since resigning as secretary of state in February of last year.
Meanwhile, the largest Democratic fund-raising group, Priorities USA, which helped get President Obama elected, recently rebranded itself as a vehicle to help Mrs. Clinton. Publicly, the group says it is focused on raising money for Democrats for this fall’s congressional elections, but privately, Priorities has already started reaching out to donors to secure 2016 commitments for Mrs. Clinton.
“It’s very obvious what’s she going to do,” said Sue Dvorsky, a former chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party. “Clearly she’s going to run.”
Of course, the former first lady can always decide to take a pass on a campaign. Before the 2004 presidential election, former Vice President Al Gore crisscrossed the country to promote his books, delivered speeches and even poked fun at himself on “Saturday Night Live,” leading to assumptions that he would seek to unseat President George W. Bush. But in December 2002, Mr. Gore declared that he would not run.
But Mr. Gore did not have a groundswell of support within the Democratic Party and had run into potential problems raising money. (There was no “Ready for Al” group signing up supporters.) And, back then, the Democratic Party had a larger field of other viable candidates including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
The signs pointing to Mrs. Clinton running are big and small.
Lately, when supporters wish her good luck in the 2016 presidential campaign, she responds with a simple “Thank you,” rather than explain that there is no campaign and that she has not yet decided whether she will run, as she did previously.
Priorities has held informational meetings with donors like Bernard L. Schwartz, a New York investor, and J. B. Pritzker, a Chicago-based philanthropist, to discuss a 2016 strategy and how much money will be needed to take on Republican super PACs.
At the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, an intense period of fund-raising is underway, which is widely seen as an effort to build up the family’s charitable operation now, because a presidential campaign would soon interfere with philanthropic activities. A foundation fund-raiser the Clintons threw in the Hamptons in August cost as much as $50,000 per couple to attend.
Last month, Chelsea Clinton resigned from NBC News after less than three years as a special correspondent. In a Facebook message, Ms. Clinton said she stepped down “to continue focusing on my work at the Clinton Foundation” and as she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, expect their first child. But she would have likely had to step back from that job should her mother embark on a presidential campaign.
These days Mrs. Clinton’s mind seems to drift to Iowa, as she has been casually asking friends about who’s who in the state’s Democratic Party, said two people who could discuss private conversations only anonymously.
On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton will make her first trip back to Iowa since early 2008, when she came in third in the heated Democratic caucus behind Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, and Mr. Edwards. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton will both attend the steak fry, a fund-raiser in Indianola known as a must-stop for potential presidential candidates.