WEST PALM BEACH, Fl, April 6, 2013 - Hillary Clinton is running for President in 2016. Her silence gives it away.
Rand Paul made his intentions clear by boisterously launching a filibuster against CIA appointee John Brennan and making a stand on immigration. He has been on the cover of newspapers and magazines, making proactive speeches and commenting on the statements of others. He is, clearly, positioning for a run in 2016.
Hillary Clinton is taking a different, quieter, approach.
Since she left office as Secretary of State, Clinton has remained out of the public eye. She has not commented on Benghazi or North Korea, made no talk show appearances and held no rallies. She has neither supported nor condemned President Obama nor even commented on his policies.
Instead, she appears to be waiting, planning, keeping attention elsewhere while she finalizes her strategy.
Both supporters and detractors will agree Hillary Clinton is smart. She is as intelligent and well qualified as anyone else eyeing the presidency. She also has an asset that any other Democratic contender would gladly saw off his right arm to control: the more-popular-than-ever Bill Clinton and his enormous network.
Hillary Clinton is also a known quantity, and her highly visible history is both her strength and her weakness. While her resume gives her credibility and experience, it also gives opponents some tangible issues to attack and criticize. Everything from her personality to her relationship with her husband, from her clothing to her glasses, and of course, Benghazi, is on display and open season for detractors.
No doubt Clinton hopes the din over Benghazi will calm down in the next few months or even that a new crisis will unseat foreign policy focus on that particular debacle. Should Benghazi not fade, Clinton is likely to come out swinging, either defending her actions or pinning blame on other parts of the Administration. Perhaps Clinton will reveal that Susan Rice defended the Administration on Benghazi publicly only because Secretary Clinton refused. Her response, when it comes, will be well-planned, well-prepared.
While recent polls showing Clinton would handily beat Christie, Rubio, Biden and others feed popular headlines, they likely mean little to the Clinton team. Clinton and her advisors almost certainly know the fight has not yet started, and that when it does, it will be bloody and brutal. The 2016 campaign, if Clinton runs, will include some of the ugliest attacks America has witnessed in politics.
Clinton knows what the campaign will look like and how hard it will be. She knows she could retire and speak on talk shows and conference circuit, write her book and maybe even relax.
But Hillary Clinton also likely feels the pull of destiny, the possibility of winning the presidency, the possibility of redemption.
Clinton is building, quietly and carefully. Last week, long-time Clinton ally James Carville talked in glowing terms about Hillary Clinton and her capabilities. He discussed the Super PAC, Ready for Hillary that is trying to lure her into running in 2016 and how the group is trying to build grass-roots support for Clinton. Clinton stepped out of politicking when she became Secretary of State, he explained, so the Super PAC is working to rebuild her political base. It is also, of course, raising money.
Carville’s public appearances also reminded the public Clinton is still here, still viable.
We do not yet know when or how Clinton will announce her candidacy, but we do know it will not be accidental or unplanned. Hillary Clinton will not blunder into her candidacy or free fall or improvise. She will move steadily forward, with her strategy set.
When she is ready, Hillary Clinton will pounce, well-armed and prepared, for the presidential bid. Her opponents will respond with vicious never-before seen attacks. And the race will officially begin.
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