Now that the second inauguration is under President Barack Obama's belt, political junkies can't help but speculate on the next presidential race in 2016.
Hillary Clinton's recent appearances, along with those of her family, have done nothing to quiet the chatter surrounding her potential run for president in 2016. Instead, they've fueled the flames of speculation around whether she'll make a run for the white house.
Here are five reasons why a Hillary for president in 2016 campaign is pretty much a done deal.
1. Bill and Chelsea continuing to talk up her health after the blood clot episode
Late last year, Hillary was admitted to the hospital to undergo treatment for a blood clot in her head. Not only did her doctors speak very highly of her health after the treatment, but both Bill and Chealsea Clinton have since made public statements regarding Hillary's health.
The former president, in an oh-so-Bill-Clinton moment, joked that he is only
Hillary's first husband, and he believes she will live to be 120 years old. He said she has "always been very, very healthy," and she still has time for three husbands after him.
Chelsea Clinton also appeared on the Today Show, telling Matt Lauer that her mother is "exuding the energy, the vibrancy, and certainly the mental acuity that she always has" after the recent blood clot incident. Chelsea also optimistically said she hopes her mother to be "healthy and vibrant ... for the next 65 years of her life.”
Hillary is currently 65-years old, and her age and subsequent questions surrounding her health may pose a challenge if she is to run for election in 2016. If elected, she would be the same age as Ronald Reagan, who is currently the oldest president in the first term, when he took office at 69-years old. Bill's and Chelsea's reassurances are surely hints of a 2016 presidential bid.
2. Sly well-wishes by Democratic politicians
On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relation Committee to face questions about the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi last year.
A couple Congress people from the Democratic Party took the opportunity not only to commend Hillary for her good work, but also to wish her well for the future. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), said to Hillary, "You will be sorely missed, but I for one hope not for too long." And Delegate Eni Faleomavaega, Jr. (D-Somoa) said to the outgoing secretary of state later in the afternoon, "I salute you and I look ahead to 2016, wishing you much success and extending to you my highest regards."
While these well wishes are far from an indication that the Democratic politicians know something that we don't, they do show that ranking members of the party believe that a Hillary Clinton run for the White House is not only possible, but highly likely.
3. Hillary's resignation from secretary of state to "relax"
Hillary was saying long before Obama's re-election that she would resign from her post as secretary of state if he won a second term. And it looks like she's sticking to it, with John Kerry's recommendation and pending appointment to the post.
The New York Times reported that she is looking forward to the time after her resignation, and that "she is going to chill."
Hillary said, "I just want to sleep and exercise and travel for fun. And relax. It sounds so ordinary, but I haven’t done it for 20 years. I would like to see whether I can get untired."
Hillary might have a little bit of time to "relax" before campaigning for 2016, and no one can argue that this woman doesn't need it. She's had an incredible 20-year career in politics, and just in the past four years she has logged nearly a million miles visiting over 100 countries. But perhaps the real reason for Hillary's timely resignation is that it's hard to campaign for president when you're secretary of state. There are restrictions on fundraising and partisan activities for the nation's top diplomat, and these types of activities for a 2016 presidential campaign would need to begin fairly soon.
Even though Clinton's resignation may temporarily remove her a few degrees from the political scene, she will leave office with high approval ratings that will be a boon when the 2016 campaign ramps up. Despite the controversy around the unfortunate events in Libya, a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll puts her outgoing approval at 69%, with just 25% of Americans disapproving of her performance.
4. She's got $204,833 cash on hand
We all know that Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign did not fare well against the Barack Obama election machine. Although the campaign had around $12 million in debt in 2008, a recent FEC filing shows that all that debt has been repaid. And at the end of 2012, the Hillary Clinton for President organization had $204,833 in cash on hand. One can only imagine why Hillary Clinton for president would need a couple hundred-thousands-of-dollars of cash on hand ... to jumpstart campaign activities.
5. She hasn't definitively said "no"
Clinton and her allies have been fairly wishy-washy on answering the question of whether she'll make a run in 2016. But the fact remains that she nor Bill have ruled it out entirely. And in the political world, where even definitive statements can later be retracted, this is a huge sign that she is considering it very seriously.
Bill Clinton, who would certainly be Hillary's #1 campaigner, has indicated that all options are on the table. He said regarding his wife's potential run, "My advice is that she should rest up and decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life, and whether she thinks this is the right thing for her and for America and for the world."
In a December interview, Hillary told ABC's Barbara Walters, "I've said I really don't believe that's something I'll do again." And in an interview with Gail Collins of the New York Times, she said “Oh, I’ve ruled it out, but you know me. Everybody keeps asking me. So I keep ruling it out and being asked.” She's also given the vague answer, “I have no idea what I’m going to do next.”
So what will Hillary do next? Only time will tell, but all signs point to Hillary for president, 2016.