Does it matter if Hillary's thinking 2016?

Kevin Lamarque/AP

I was at funeral in Arkansas this week when a long-time friend and associate of Hillary Rodham Clinton leaned into me and whispered, "She's going to run."

Run for what? "President. 2016," the pal replied. "I'm sure of it."

After the services, I pressed the good-intentioned source about how he could be so sure. He wasn't. Turns out, the "tip" was based on mere hope ("I really want her to run. We all do") and history ("Remember? I'm the guy who helped you report first that she was running for the Senate").

Like the rest of us, the friend doesn't know Clinton's plans for 2016. She's hedging. We're guessing.

I thought of this exchange today while catching up on my reading. "I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again," Clinton said when asked about a presidendial bid in an interview that aired Wednesday.

Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner added important context:

It's not the first time Clinton has beaten back rumors about her future plan. "I think I will serve as secretary of state as my last public position, and then probably go back to advocacy, and probably on behalf of women and children," she said  from Bahrain two years ago. A year later, she told Wolf Blitzer that she did not want to be president. In a recent Marie Claire interview, she said she looked forward to cheering for the first woman in the White House from the sidelines.

Clinton is the anti-Sherman, parsing out phrases such as "I really don't believe ..." and "I think ..." and "probably." Based on my experience covering the Clintons since the 1980s, and talking recently to scores of her associates in Washington, New York and Arkansas about her 2016 prospects, I can share this hedged bottom line: I think she doesn't know.

Clinton is legitimately tired after four years on the road and 20 years under the harsh Washington spotlight. Take her at her word when she says she plans to rest and return to advocacy. She means it.

At the same time, it is said that seeking the presidency is a sickness cured only by embalming fluid. And, for Clinton, there is no bigger advocacy platform than the Oval Office. It's easy to see why a friend would mistake hope for hype and tell a reporter, "She's going to run."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.