Is Hillary Clinton preparing to jump into the Democratic Party’s presidential contest? Her recent media appearances suggest so, but there may be one thing keeping her out of the race.
In a weekend appearance on the U.K.’s Graham Norton Show, Clinton claimed she had been “deluged” with requests to take another stab at the White House after her 2016 loss to now-President Donald Trump. “I’d have to make up my mind really quickly,” she said, “because it’s moving very fast.”
Indeed it is. Between the entrance of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the departure of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic field is changing rapidly. Add to that the fact that the Iowa caucuses are under two months away, and time is running out for Clinton to join the fray.
Although few Americans saw Clinton’s Graham Norton Show appearance, millions of them heard her Wednesday interview with Howard Stern. And while the former secretary of state didn’t specifically say whether she planned to run again, she made it clear that she believes more media appearances — including some with Stern, who repeatedly urged her to come on his show as Trump had — might have made the difference in 2016.
According to New York Post columnist Maureen Callahan:
Stern was an able ally, allowing Hillary to expound on her ability to work across the aisle (despite no signature legislation while serving New York in the US Senate), her support for the Osama bin Laden raid and her role in advising the president, her plans for her first 100 days as president (health care), and her concerns for the future of the country, which felt especially raw during Trump’s inauguration.
“If I had lost to a normal Republican,” Hillary said, “I wouldn’t have a pit in my stomach.”
Clinton, noted Callahan, “went on to discuss everything from her mother’s depression to whether she’s ever been in therapy (no, but marriage counseling post-Lewinsky), to her stiffness in the spotlight (‘It’s outside my comfort zone’), to the true charisma that she lacks but that her husband and Barack Obama, she readily admits, have in spades, to her friendship with Mick Jagger (!) and how the deaths of her younger brother and two close friends this year have devastated her.” She even joked about an on-air coughing fit.
“Never has Hillary Clinton sounded this relaxed, conversational and, yes, human,” observed Callahan.
That, it seems, was the point. In a May appearance on Good Morning America, Stern maintained that his many interviews of Trump over the years helped Trump win the presidency.
“The way I helped Donald was I let him come on and be a personality,” Stern said. “Whether you liked him or not, people related to him as a human being.”
Stern, who said he preferred Clinton to Trump for president, told GMA he believes he could have done the same thing for Clinton if only she’d consented to an interview.
“I think you were right,” Clinton told Stern Wednesday. “I did not prioritize the media the way I should have. I think that was a miscalculation. I really do.”
Clinton’s appearance seems to have swayed many of Stern’s listeners. Even one self-described “conservative” who claimed to have “always hated Hillary” said the interview changed his mind because he now sees “how cool she” is. Other callers urged her to get into the race.
But will she? Former Bill Clinton adviser Dick Morris thinks she will — but only if former Vice President Joe Biden quits the race.
“My feeling is that she wants to,” Morris told radio host John Catsimatidis last month. “But she’s hesitant because she realizes the timing is bad. She’s got to wait until Biden drops out because he’s obviously next in line for it, and if he goes away, there’s an opening for her.”
Morris thinks Clinton will position herself as the moderate in the race — a position currently filled by Biden — as compared to hard-left candidates like Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“She feels entitled to do it [run for president]. She feels compelled to do it. She feels that God put her on the Earth to do it,” declared Morris.
But if and when she finally enters the race, will voters feel the same way?
Photo: AP Images