Hillary Clinton Reemerges Amid 2016 Rumors

Clinton's speech at the Kennedy Center proves she can't do anything outside the framework of her potential presidential candidacy.

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Win McNamee / Getty Images

Defense Department Holds Ceremony To Honor Hillary Clinton on February 14, 2013 in Arlington, Va.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she’s undecided on running for president, but as she made her first public appearance since stepping down as Secretary of State the prospect of her candidacy hung just outside the door — literally.

Nearly 50 early supporters gathered across from the Kennedy Center opera house before an event honoring women leaders from around the world. The Clinton backers held signs bearing the slogan “I’m ready for Hillary” and chanting “Hillary 2016!” Cars honked in support as they passed before the event. The rally was organized by the new super PAC, Ready for Hillary, an independent group which launched this week to mobilize a grassroots supporter network for Clinton should she decide to run.

The next election is 42 months away and already Clinton can’t do anything outside the framework of her potential candidacy. Just two weeks ago Clinton backed gay marriage in a video released by the Human Rights Council, after opposing it through her 2008 campaign. The result has been a spate of “will she or won’t she” stories in the national press, as supporters stand ready at the sidelines, potential rivals look on in wonder, and aides repeatedly assert she hasn’t made up her mind.

In the packed Kennedy Center, Clinton’s political future was the talk of the event in the hallways before and the curbside after. Clinton is hitting the paid speaking circuit, beginning later this month with a speech to the National Multi Housing Council in Dallas. She will address theWomen in the World Summit on Friday in New York City.

Last night Clinton was mum on her future as she delivered her first remarks since quitting the State Department in February. But in as much as it was a celebration of inspiring female leaders, the event was also something of a tribute to Clinton — who founded the organization in 1997.

“Hillary Clinton changed the rules — she threw them all out completely. She redefined expectations for women, not only in America, but all over the world,” said designer Diane von Fürstenberg in her introduction of Clinton. Vice President Joe Biden, who delivered the keynote address, proclaimed, “There’s no woman like Hillary Clinton.” Biden is also thought to be eyeing a run in 2016.

As she took the stage Clinton was greeted by a rousing half-minute standing ovation, noting the event bringing together longtime advocates and donors was “a little bit like a family reunion.” To another round of applause she delivered the line that brought her effort to international prominence in 1995: “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”

Outside, the unsanctioned super PAC was hard at work. The group has signed on Matt Felan, Clinton’s deputy national finance director in her 2008 race and is recruiting a regional finance team.

“The attacks are coming,” said Seth Bringman, the group’s communications director. “We’re going to defend her while she’s taking a break from politics and plan for her campaign.”

“Even if she doesn’t want it, we believe she’s going to be convinced to do it,” he added.

Bringman said some of Clinton’s top 2008 bundlers have already signed on with the group, but declined to name them or reveal how much has already been raised. (He said the group hopes to raise in the seven-figures.)

50 comments
Aj Boogie Jones
Aj Boogie Jones

That quote is extremely inaccurate...shows the ignorance of the original poster.

Grant Bussell
Grant Bussell

Oh please why do Americans think everything starts with them. Margaret Thacher, anyone?

Abby Diaz
Abby Diaz

HILLARY 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Petra Aylesworth
Petra Aylesworth

You are giving her way too much credit!!! There were much more influential extraordinary women in politics before her which truly deserve the praise. One being Condoleza Rice. Not Mrs. Clinton.

dona5529
dona5529

Definitely a sign that Hillary Clinton is serious about a run in 2016: she's washed her hair.

John Hurley
John Hurley

Hillary didn't change the rules. she just recognized how rigged they were, and chose to ignore them.

Martin Martino
Martin Martino

It's far too early, these well-meaning supporters could very well end up being the reason why she fails to secure the presidency.

Martin Martino
Martin Martino

That's a serious accusation. Can you provide a link to support it?

Jacob Wise
Jacob Wise

Continue exalting these self-righteous, disingenous, incompetant, and power hungry empty suits! Meanwhile, you and your family continue to languish on the vine! They have no problem reaping the spoils at the expense of our incompetance. Pad those pockets, Ms. Clinton!

Jim Quesada
Jim Quesada

She sure did... anyone else would have been held to the mat over Benghazi... but not Teflon Hillary. She told the media and the GOP to pound sand... and they sure did.

Jesús Eduardo
Jesús Eduardo

She's another criminal of the system, don't let yourselves be fooled.

Ronnie Elling
Ronnie Elling

as she said what differance does it make it is only four dead AMERICANS

Lori Pitts
Lori Pitts

she is brilliant amazing and will be the next President!

Sann Tint
Sann Tint

World is Waiting for you return as a reviver !

Kristy Rodriguez
Kristy Rodriguez

Benghazi!!! She cant even run a state department, what idiot do you have to be to think she will be a good president?????

BarbaraMcDWhitt
BarbaraMcDWhitt

Hillary Clinton will need a grassroots effort that matches or exceeds Barack Obama's in 2008 and 2012. She should persuade some of Obama's election team to work to get her the job. 

sacredh
sacredh

Hillary could clear the field of any serious competition with just a couple of words. If she runs, it's hers for the taking. Her biggest advantage would be campaining for the general election from the outset.

rpwpb
rpwpb

@EricBoehlert @ZekeJMiller The copy editor in me: re-emerges, need the hyphen to separate the double vowels. :) IMHO, she's going for it.

bobell
bobell

Noone cares about hyphens anymore. Excpect no cooperation in that matter.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@retiredvet More importantly why the no outrage over Abu Graib? The Bush administration knew about the human rights violations for years and did nothing about it until the pics were made public to the world.

bobell
bobell

@retiredvet One of the evil spirits in Ghostbusters, no?

I sense a takeover of this thread by twitterererers.  Just as well -- It's waaaaay too early to be talking about 2016.

AfGuy
AfGuy

@CowboyBabe88 @ZekeJMiller @TIMEPolitics

To be replaced with WHAT? 

One of the prospective occupants of that clown car known as the GOP presidential candidates? Saint Marco of the Perpetual Thirst? Calgary" Ted? Or do you have another Cuban politician waiting in the wings that will bring all the Latinos into play? There's always that special immigration exception for the Cubans standing in the way, though... but I'm sure the other Latinos never think about that.

How about Scott "Dead Eyes" Walker? " Or Ricky? Or are you gonna re-cycle Eyes of Newt or The Donald? Oh, wait... Paul Ryan or... drum roll please... Louie Gohmert!  That's the winning GOP "ticket"...

No matter how much you continue to flog that horse, he's not gonna get up.  The smell should give you a hint...

Sparrow55
Sparrow55

@bobell IMHO,#Hillary,#Benghazi,#Hashtag @At....LOL

I think I just said something.