Hillary Clinton is back on the campaign trail and racking up endorsements even though, officially, she's not running for anything.
The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady has basked in speculation that she will make another run for president in 2016, and polls suggest she'd immediately become the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Other potential Democratic contenders are waiting and watching what she does before announcing their own plans, but Clinton is not rushing to make a decision.
But even as Clinton maintains a noncommittal attitude toward a second presidential bid, she is now acting and talking in a way befitting a presidential-candidate-in-waiting, even going on the campaign trail in a high-stakes political contest.
“I've been out of politics for a few years now,” Clinton told a crowd at a recent event for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton family ally. “And I've had a chance to think a lot about what makes our country so great. What kind of leadership is required to keep it great.”
As she travels the country collecting awards and making speeches, Clinton is honing campaign-style messages about her vision for the country. She is also sharpening her campaign-trail condemnations of the partisan culture and gridlock in Washington, a place to which she's been tethered for much of her adult life.
“We are careening from crisis to crisis — instead of having a plan, bringing people to that plan, focusing on common-sense solutions and being relentless in driving toward them,” she told the liberal Center For American Progress.
Clinton has used her work on behalf of McAuliffe and with the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation to reconnect with long-time donors and to introduce herself to potential new ones.
A recent McAuliffe fundraiser hosted by Clinton at her Washington home drew a who’s who of the party faithful. This week, Clinton will jet to Beverly Hills on McAuliffe’s behalf for another fundraising event with a separate important group of Democratic donors.
Major donors have already started to gravitate toward Clinton. George Soros, a financier and powerful Democratic moneyman, contributed $25,000 recently to the super PAC Ready for Hillary, which is urging Clinton to enter the race and which already raised more than $1 million after receiving Clinton’s implicit blessing.
Clinton is just getting started. She and her husband, the former president, will appear at a total of 12 public events for McAuliffe before Election Day next week, and discussions are already taking place regarding the Clintons' role in 2014 midterm election campaigns.