Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has left office, but certainly not the limelight. In the last two months as a private citizen, she has made numerous public speeches, announced her support for gay marriage, and established an office in downtown Washington, D.C. She’s also had a busy couple of months for a recently unemployed person, but does it mean, as many news sources are delighting in speculating, that she’s prepping for a 2016 presidential run? The best way to tell is through what she and her staff are showing, not telling.
Most staff, aides, and friends of Clinton, not to mention Hillary herself, are keeping mum on the topic of a 2016 presidential bid. A top spokesperson for Clinton would only comment to the Associated Press, "My advice to everyone is to chill out … there's no need for all this breathless anticipation at this point."
Other staffers were equally quiet. According to the New York Times, Clinton’s longtime communications aide, Philippe Reines said only, “Everyone’s gotten way ahead of themselves, and most importantly, they have gotten way ahead of her.”
Yet in spite of noncommittal staff response, Clinton has undertaken a variety of activities that might position well for another shot at the presidency. She’s started work on a memoir detailing her last few years that is expected to sell well and will require a book tour. A book tour could stop in states known for their political sway like Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio, rather than their literary purchasing power, serving as a ramp up to a real campaign. Her public speeches have also fueled speculation about her presidential aspirations: a recent speech in New York, where she discussed the exclusion of women in the labor market, was well received. Finally, her Super-PAC makes a strong case for Clinton’s 2016 plans: the PAC already boasts 100,000 supporters, recruiting about a thousand more each day.
While all of these activities might point to building political capital, they’re not an official campaign declaration, and there’s clearly no imperative for Clinton to start an official campaign quite yet. As a staff member said to The Hill, “If I'm Hillary Clinton, I don’t have a lot to do. She has more than enough potential staff; she’ll be able to raise more money than anyone who's ever run for president. None of the preparatory work that other people have to do, she has to do.”
Hmmm. Actions speak louder than words, and in spite of her radio silence, it looks like Clinton is actively cultivating her public image. Run or no run, it will be an interesting couple of years for Clinton and her supporters.