Hillary for president? Maybe.
Those close to Hillary Rodham Clinton are starting to openly speculate that the secretary of state will run for president again in 2016.
The growing crew of speculators now includes three big ones: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), former Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell and former president Bill Clinton himself.
The question is whether this amounts to wishful thinking on behalf of Clinton backers still unsatisfied by (or bitter about) 2008, or an indication that she is actually considering another try.
Clinton herself has shunned talk of another bid. She has said she will not serve another term as secretary of state if President Obama is reelected and suggested that the first female president won’t be her.
“I would like to come back to India and just wander around without the streets being closed,” she said during a speech in India last month. “I just want to get back to taking some deep breaths, feeling that there are other ways I can continue to serve.”
Pelosi and Rendell have been strongest in their advocacy. Both said in reports this weekend that they expect that Clinton to dust off her campaign for another go at it four years from now. Clinton will turn 69 just days before Election Day.
“She’s our shot,” Pelosi told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Why wouldn’t she run? She’s a magnificent secretary of state.”
Added Clinton confidant Rendell in his new book: “She is bone-tired. . . . Still I believe that when she gets some rest and has a chance to reflect on what she wants, the challenges facing the country will be too great for her to resist and she will change her mind.”
And Bill Clinton himself seems to be pining for his wife to give it another shot, too. (Nobody loves the game like Bubba.)
“She’s told you and everybody else that she thinks she’ll probably never run for office again,” he said. “But I’ve been there; I know what happens when you go through this decompression after years of relentless high-pressure activity. And I just think she needs to rest up, do some things she cares about, and whatever she decides to do, I’ll support.”
Regardless of Hillary Clinton’s own deliberations, the fact that three such high-profile people seem to want her to run for president four years from now is significant. After all, if everybody around you is pressuring you to do something, it becomes much harder to resist.
And another presidential campaign makes a lot of sense for Clinton.
She’s basically the most popular female public figure in the country, with about two-thirds of Americans viewing her favorably. And she’s got the kind of résumé most presidential candidates would kill for, as a former first lady, senator from New York and successful secretary of state.