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Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

Madame Clinton Holds All the Aces



By Reymer Klüver

It was her 'swan song' before Congress, but with that brilliant performance she also gave notice that she doesn't intend for a moment to retreat into political retirement.

Translated By Ron Argentati

28 January 2013

Edited by Hana Livingston


Germany - Süddeutsche Zeitung - Original Article (German)

Will she run again? A joint interview with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton feeds speculation that Clinton may run for president of the United States in 2016. But the departing Secretary of State can take her time deciding, thereby disabling the Democrats who might be her competition.

Of course it’s all just idle speculation, but what could be more fun than that? Will Clinton really be Obama’s replacement in 2016? Speculation reached a new peak after the president — just a few days after being sworn in for his second term — appeared for a joint interview with his departing Secretary of State, during which he praised her to the skies.

The answer to the question is simple and crystal clear: Yes, of course Clinton would like to be the first female president in U.S. history. It would be the crowning achievement of her remarkable career and it doesn’t take much armchair psychology to reach that conclusion. It would be a personal triumph for Clinton after enduring all the indignities she had to suffer while her husband was president, and after the humiliation of losing the primary election of 2008 when she thought her ticket to the White House was already in her hand.

But the real question is different: Will Clinton actually run? The answer to that isn’t as easily defined.

Exhausted, But Still Focused

First of all, anyone who knew Clinton last year prior to her collapse in December was sure of one thing: The woman needed a break. Two years of merciless campaigning and another four years as Secretary of State, without pause, took its toll on her. Clinton is a fighter with an unbelievably strong will. She’s also very tough. But even she eventually came to the end of her strength, and at age 65 one can safely assume that she’s well aware of where her limits lie.

On the other hand, anyone watching her performance during any of her appearances before Congress knows how much raw political talent she possesses — and she demonstrated far more than that. She showed how much energy she can summon up at any given moment. None of the senators surrounding her came close to equaling her in that respect.

Biden, Warner and Cuomo All Have to Wait

It’s all hers for the taking. It was her “swan song” before Congress, so to speak, but with that brilliant performance she also gave notice that she doesn’t intend for a moment to retreat into political retirement.

And why should she? According to opinion polls, she’s the most-liked American politician — and she’s married to America’s favorite former president. She has a circle of loyal and highly qualified colleagues who know how to organize a presidential campaign. She could mobilize them at a moment’s notice. In addition, she and her husband have connections to the most important financial supporters of Democratic Party causes, who are capable of raising millions of dollars. Last but not least, she now has the blessings of the incumbent president.

But Clinton won’t make a decision just yet. She might silently debate the conditions under which she would make a run for the White House, but she won’t make an announcement this year, and probably not next year either. Clinton is in a comfortable position: As long as she doesn’t declare her intentions, not much can happen.

Biden Knows He Has No Chance Against Her

Others will be positioning themselves. Vice President Joe Biden is chomping at the bit, but he has already ruled out running against Clinton (because he knows he wouldn’t stand a chance). Or the next generation’s politicians: Martin O’Malley, the honest and highly successful governor of Maryland; the intelligent Virginia Senator Mark Warner; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, scion of a famous Democratic political family. They will all wait until Clinton has made her decision. If they didn’t, they would have no success attracting financial supporters for their campaigns.

So Clinton has no need to hurry, and she’s far too professional not to know how to exploit her position. At the same time, she knows just how quickly the political winds can change. Six years ago, it seemed no one could hold a candle to her. Then, obviously, everything changed.

That’s why she’ll take her time observing the direction of the political winds in America and not rush to a decision. Clinton for president in 2016? By then, a lot of water will have passed beneath the bridge.



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