Clinton in no hurry to announce 2016 plans

Greg Nash

Hillary Clinton is in no rush to announce that she’s running for president.

{mosads}Sources in Clinton World say while there’s been some chatter about an earlier-than-expected announcement, given the Democratic midterm thumping, Clinton is likely to stick to the timeline of making her plans known early next year.

“She’s not going to get in early. Period. End of sentence,” said one Clinton ally. “She’s not ready. She hasn’t fully decided that’s what she wants to do.”

Clinton formally launched her first White House bid on Jan. 20, 2007, with a statement on her website that said, “I’m in.”

And the expectation has been that she would follow a similar plan, at least on the timing of an announcement, if she chooses to run for the presidency again.

But suggestions that she should move up her plans have become more common in recent weeks — particularly after the midterms.

Those arguing that Clinton should get in sooner rather than later say an earlier bid would help her fundraising and organizing. It would also provide some, much-needed energy to a party still reeling from an electoral disaster.

“It would be a good reminder that we’ll see them on the playing field in two years,” said one Democratic strategist. “To be continued.”

It could also downplay the storyline that Clinton is too cautious and is taking cues from old playbooks.

David Plouffe, who ran President Obama’s 2008 campaign, recently advised her to stop playing coy and push the go button as soon as possible, according to a report in Politico.

And Clinton herself offered remarks last month during a Q-and-A in Ottawa that left some wondering if she was readjusting her timeline.

“I’ve been dodging this question now for a year and a half or more,” she said at an event hosted by a Canadian think tank. “I’m going to keep dodging it, certainly until the midterm elections are over. I’m thinking hard about it. But I’m not going to really bear down and think hard about it in a way you make a decision until after these elections.”

Hillaryland sources say Clinton — who recently celebrated the birth of her granddaughter — is currently in “listening mode,” as one put it. After campaigning with Democratic candidates, she wants some downtime to really mull the decision inside and out.

“I don’t see any reason to announce anytime in the next two months,” said one Clinton insider. “Frankly, I’m thinking, ‘Take your time.’ ”

These sources maintain she will likely make a decision about her next steps sometime over the holidays. Should she choose to run, she could then form an exploratory committee, allowing her to have a soft launch of sorts.

The committee would in turn send a clear message of her intent without a huge announcement or quick ramp-up of a large team, allowing her to remain somewhat low-key for the time being.

Voters could suffer from an early dose of Clinton fatigue, argue those saying Clinton should not get in early.

And once a campaign begins on the early side, there’s “more time for negative coverage to set in and doubts in the media,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

The longtime Clinton adviser maintained that the election results don’t and shouldn’t affect the general timeline of an announcement.

For one thing, the aide pointed out, there is plenty of action already taking place to eat up the political oxygen including the debate between mainstream Republicans and Tea Partyers in addition to the string of would-be presidential candidates on the GOP side.

Furthermore, the source added, issue-oriented debates on immigration reform and other issues are also taking up space in the political stratosphere.

But most of all, Clinton — who spent the bulk of the year on a book tour, giving speeches and then stumping for Democrats — needs more time.

“The timeline is what it is,” one longtime Clinton ally said. “And I don’t see that changing.”

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