2016 Campaign Checklist: Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON May 17, 2014 (AP)
By KEN THOMAS Associated Press
A look at Hillary Rodham Clinton's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:
Nondenial denial: "I am running. Around the park." — in May, to Barbara Walters. Earlier in the month to a Maryland audience: "Stay tuned." Says she'll decide this year whether to run.
Book: Yes, again. Previously published author has "Hard Choices" scheduled for release June 10, about her years as secretary of state, with book tour likely to follow.
Visited Iowa: No. Steering clear of the early caucus/primary states. But Ready for Hillary, a super political action committee laying national groundwork for her potential candidacy, now is mobilizing for her in the state. The group dispatched 250 volunteers to Democratic county conventions to drum up support for her. (Third-place shocker in 2008 caucuses won by Barack Obama portended scrappy nomination fight to come.)
Visited New Hampshire: No. But Ready for Hillary is already working for her there. The group courted New Hampshire local officials, union leaders and the state Democratic chairman in a January visit and returned in March for a series of meetings with state lawmakers and organizers. (She beat Obama in 2008 primary to regain traction in nomination contest.)
South Carolina: No. But things are stirring. At a May meeting in Columbia partly sponsored by Ready for Hillary, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine urged Democratic women to "think about pledging your support right now" to ensure she has "millions of us ready to take the field with her" if she runs. (Distant second to Obama in 2008 primary.)
Foreign travel: Do birds fly? Former secretary of state doesn't need to globe-trot any time soon. Spent 401 days overseas, flying nearly 1 million miles. Limited overseas travel in 2013: honorary degree at St. Andrews University in Scotland in September; trip to London in October for a diplomacy award and a fundraising concert for the family's foundation. Attended memorial services for Nelson Mandela in South Africa in December. Two recent speeches in Canada.
Meet the money: Can tap deep well of Democratic and activist money. Bill Clinton's vigorous fundraising for Democratic candidates further expands that potential source of donors for her. She's been raising money for Clinton foundation. The super PAC Ready for Hillary has raised nearly $6 million since its founding last year to support a candidacy. Priorities USA said in January it will back Clinton if she runs, signaling support from senior members of President Barack Obama's campaign team. Prominent bundlers such as Hollywood moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban have indicated their support. Clinton worked fundraising circuit to help Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor in Virginia and Bill de Blasio's mayoral bid in New York City. Both won.
Networking: In May, attended her first political event of the year, a fundraiser for Pennsylvania congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies, mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton. A steady presence now on the speaking circuit, delivering paid speeches to industry groups and conferences and appearing before college crowds and groups with ties to the Democratic coalition. Accepted lifetime achievement award from American Jewish Congress in March. Crossed paths again with potential GOP rival Jeb Bush at education event in Texas in March, six months after he awarded her the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia in his capacity as chairman of the National Constitution Center.
Hog the TV: No. But showed up for Barbara Walters' last taping of "The View" in May. Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel interviewed her at Arizona State University in March. Largely avoided TV interviews in 2013, giving a few when she departed the State Department, then sitting down with Walters, who named her the "Most Fascinating Person of 2013" in December. She appeared jointly with Obama on CBS's "60 Minutes" early in 2013. NBC dropped a planned miniseries about her under pressure both from her allies and from Republicans.
Do something: For now, a record to be judged as secretary of state, senator and first lady. Through the Clinton foundation, has launched an initiative to help children's health and a separate partnership to promote women and girls.
Take a stand: In May speech to mental health conference, challenged a "way out of balance" gun culture and the expectation that "anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime," injecting herself into a more contentious subject than previous post-Cabinet speeches on the economy, housing and opportunities for women. Obama objected to her proposed individual mandate for health insurance in 2008 only to adopt it in office. After Russia sent troops to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Clinton likened Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.
Baggage: Age, Benghazi, and the politics of being a Clinton. She would be 69 on Inauguration Day in 2017 and Republicans are already raising questions — if not innuendo — about her health. GOP strategist Karl Rove suggested she may have suffered health problems more serious than acknowledged in her concussion and hospitalization in 2012, bringing rebukes from her husband and advisers. Republicans would love to pin blame on her for the 2012 deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Her coming book will tell her side of that story. She does just fine politically, until she gets political. Then her old enemies come out of the woodwork. In long-confidential documents released from Bill Clinton's administration, advisers urged her to "be real" and "humanize" herself, revealing concerns about her authenticity as a public figure.
Shadow campaign: Keeping a traditional shadow campaign at arm's length for now but she's got a steamroller behind her. Ready for Hillary super PAC has received endorsements from Democrats such as Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; several old Clinton hands are advising the group, including Craig T. Smith and Harold Ickes. The group is encouraging Clinton to run and laying a foundation of grassroots supporters for a campaign if Clinton chooses to pursue one.
Social media: About 1.4 million followers on Twitter, her preferred social media outlet. Tweets photos of her posing with Republican Sen. John McCain, members of the Russian feminist protest group bleep Riot, more. Tweets that grandmother-to-be is "my most exciting title yet!"
EDITOR'S NOTE _ 2014 is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who might run for president in 2016. There's plenty to do, and the pace has quickened since The Associated Press last took a broad look at preparations for a potential campaign. Here's a look at one prospective candidate.