On Monday, during a trip to California for her book tour, Hillary Clinton stopped by Facebook for an interview with fans. The ostensible topic was her book, Hard Choices, and so of course, everybody took the opportunity to ask her whether or not she’s going to run for president. While she didn’t make any announcements, she did what she’s been doing for years now: Allow the 2016 speculation to build unabated, and leave everyone with the impression that yeah, she’s probably going to run.
To be sure, there was plenty of unabashed book promotion in the virtual town hall. When asked who her biggest influence was, Clinton named her mother, adding that “you can read why in the book.” Regarding current events in Gaza, Clinton expressed support for a ceasefire, adding that “I negotiated the last ceasefire in November 2012 which I write about in my book.” In general, Clinton was eager to talk about her book, and many of her most in-depth answers were given in response to questions specifically about Hard Choices.
But even though she mainly stuck to the topic at hand, she did take a couple of 2016 questions, and her responses are sure to stoke the fire even more.
What would the first item on her agenda be if she did become president, one questioner asked?
“Answering hypothetically,” Clinton said, “the next President should work to grow the economy, increase upward mobility and decrease inequality.”
Progressives have often cast doubt on how progressive Clinton really is on economic issues; that’s one of the main impetuses behind the movement to draft Elizabeth Warren to run against her. As such, it makes sense that Clinton — if she were running — would try and get ahead of that charge as soon as possible, touting her commitment to pursuing a liberal economic agenda and narrowing the income gap.
A slightly more subtle hint came later on, when she was asked why she decided to write Hard Choices when she did.
“I wanted to write about the four years I spent as Secretary of State because so many consequential events occurred from the Arab Spring to sanctions on Iran's economy to the pivot to Asia,” Clinton replied. “I think it is important for people to have an inside account of how I worked on these issues so they can have more information to form their own opinions.”
“To form their own opinions.” How interesting! And why might the American people need to form an opinion on Clinton? You know, other than to simply be informed about the world around them, something most Americans don’t seem very concerned with doing anyway. Perhaps it’s because at some point, people will have to compare Clinton’s background and qualifications with somebody else’s, and decide which one they’d rather elect president? Just a thought!
Unlike her recent appearance on the Daily Show, Clinton didn’t make it blindingly obvious this time around that she’s going to run. She ignored a lot of questions about 2016, and focused by and large on the content of her book. But she gave enough clues that everybody’s working assumption — that she’ll run — isn’t likely to change any time soon.