Hillary Clinton ‘wrestles’ with decision to run for president
In her first major interview since leaving the Obama administration eight months ago, the former secretary of state told New York Magazine she was considering a bid but that it was not a decision that “has to be made soon”.
“I do” Clinton said, when asked if she “wrestles with running”.
“But I’m both a pragmatist and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or another.”
The former first lady and New York senator did not elaborate on a timetable for her decision.
“I’m not in any hurry” she said, in an interview posted online on Sunday. “I think it’s a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it’s also not one that has to be made soon. The election is more than three years away and I just don’t think it’s good for the country.”
She compared the current political process to meeting someone at a party “and they look over your shoulder to see who else is there, and you want to talk to them about something that’s really important.
“In fact,” she continued, “maybe you came to the party to talk to that particular person and they just want to know what’s next. I feel like that’s our political process right now. I just don’t think it is good.”
Clinton reflected on her four years serving in Obama’s cabinet following his overtaking her to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. “I’ve had a unique, close, and personal front-row seat,” she said. “And I think these last four years have certainly deepened and broadened my understanding of the challenges and the opportunities that we face in the world today.”
If Clinton were to enter the 2016 race she would be the frontrunner in the primary and general elections, according to polls. A CNN/ORC poll last week showed that 65% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would support her in the Democratic primaries. Joe Biden, the vice-president and her closest potential competitor, received only 10% support.
Clinton’s decision on whether to run is being closely watched, as it could have a major impact on whether others decide to enter the race. Some of Clinton’s friends and confidantes who were interviewed for the New York Magazine piece, anonymously, were not so circumspect about her future.
“She’s running but she doesn’t know it yet,” one person said. “It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.”
One person described as a longtime Clinton friend said: “She’s doing a very Clintonian thing. In her mind, she’s running for it and she’s also convinced herself she hasn’t made up her mind. She’s going to run for president. It’s a foregone conclusion.”
Clinton said that the past few months, the first in 20 years where she has been free of the demands of public office or a national political campaign, have seen her enjoying spending more time with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and doing normal things like watching “stupid movies”.
“We get to be at home together a lot more now than we used to in the last few years,” she said. “We have a great time; we laugh at our dogs; we watch stupid movies; we take long walks; we go for a swim,. You know, just ordinary, everyday pleasures.”
The former president said in a separate interview, which aired on Sunday on CNN, that any decision by his wife is “a long way ahead. I think she would be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as a done deal, ever, by anybody. But I don’t know what she’s going to do.”
The Democratic House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, said that if Clinton won the presidency, she would be one of the most experienced people to enter the White House in a long time. In an interview which was also aired Sunday, on CNN’s State of the Union, Pelosi said Clinton would be “certainly more prepared than President Obama, certainly more prepared than President Bush, certainly more prepared than President Clinton, I might admit”.
The Clintons are holding their annual Clinton Global Initiative meetings in New York this week.
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