TIME 2016 presidential election

5 Things Hillary Clinton Needs To Work Out Before She Runs For President

The former Secretary of State leads the list of prospective Democratic candidates

WASHINGTON — A still undeclared candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton sits atop the prospective field of Democratic presidential candidates for 2016. But as Clinton has said before, if she runs again, she’ll work as hard as any underdog.

Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid stumbled, undermined by anti-war activists who opposed her vote to authorize the Iraq war, infighting among her staff and a large entourage that made it difficult for her to connect with voters on a one-on-one basis.

How she attempts to address those deficiencies — assuming she runs for president, as expected — will be a big part of Clinton’s efforts next year. Here’s a look at five things to watch from Clinton in 2015.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Speculation about the timing of Clinton’s announcement has been rampant. Some Democrats wanted her to make it official after the party’s dreadful midterm elections. Clinton has scheduled some paid speeches into March, raising the possibility that she will hold off until spring. Democratic insiders expect a different approach this time — recall her January 2007 video declaring, “I’m in to win” — that harnesses the grassroots activists sowed by outside super PACs and allows her to make a big splash in online fundraising. “All of these supporters are a ready-made asset, eager to help promote her message and to stand by her in what we can safely expect to be a relentless, even unprecedented, swamp of negativity from her opponents,” said Tracy Sefl, an adviser to Ready for Hillary.

RATIONALE: Clinton has said anyone who runs for president needs to have a specific agenda and have a reason to run. She offered hints at what her rationale might be during the fall campaign, advocating for middle-class economic prosperity, paid leave for working mothers and a hike in the minimum wage. The party’s liberal wing will look for signs that she might offer a brand of economic populism that has made them gravitate to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who says she’s not running in 2016.

OBAMA: Where Clinton embraces the president’s agenda, and where she seeks to separate herself from him, will be closely scrutinized. Obama was a liability for many Democrats during the 2014 midterm elections and saw his approval ratings sink during the year. Clinton will need to remain loyal enough to the president to maintain his voting coalition while displaying enough independence to appeal to those who have grown weary of Obama. Succeeding a two-term president in your own party is never easy.

TEAM: How Clinton assembles a campaign team could be instructive of what she’s learned since 2008. Back then, her campaign was beset by internal tensions and fights over strategy. This time, Clinton will have her pick of the party’s top talent and Democrats expect her to build upon the technical know-how of the Obama campaigns. White House adviser John Podesta, a former Bill Clinton chief of staff, could serve in a senior role. Her team could include Clinton veterans like Robby Mook, who ran Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 race; Ace Smith, who advised California Gov. Jerry Brown’s re-election this year; and Stephanie Schriock, the president of Democratic fundraising power EMILY’s List. Guy Cecil, who led the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said in a statement first reported by Politico last week that he was taking himself out of the running for a top campaign job.

GETTING OUT OF THE BUBBLE: Clinton often faced criticism in 2007 and 2008 that her large entourage and Secret Service protection made her unapproachable. Some of her campaign trips this fall included off-schedule stops at restaurants and coffee shops. But Clinton has yet to interact with voters in a personal way that remains common in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. “That is now her greatest challenge: to get into the field and be with the people who form the storyline of her narrative about women and America’s economy,” wrote California Democratic strategist Karen Skelton, a former political aide in Bill Clinton’s White House. She suggested the former first lady’s team “figure out how to use this time to allow her to go back to a stripped-down version of her life.”

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Quits Business Jobs as 2016 Looms

Jeb Bush Miami
Jeb Bush speaks to the media while handing out holiday food baskets in Miami on Dec. 17, 2014. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Republican looks to avoid Mitt Romney's fate

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has begun to wind down his business affairs as he considers a run for president in 2016, with the Republican hoping to avoid the criticism Mitt Romney endured for his business background in 2012.

Bush is quitting Tenet Healthcare Corp., the Los Angeles Times reports, and is ending a consulting contract with Barclays Bank. He has stopped giving highly-paid speeches. Aides had signaled last week that such moves were coming, after Bush announced that he would “actively explore” a 2016 White House run.

In the 2012 presidential race, Romney drew persistent fire from Democrats for his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital.

Bush was involved in a number of major financial ventures since his time as governor ended in 2007. That year, Bush was hired as a financial advisor to Lehman Brothers, the New York firm that dealt in sour mortgages and collapsed ignominiously during the global financial crisis. He switched to Barclays after Lehman filed for bankruptcy. For both firms, he mostly consulted on macroeconomic trends and policies, a spokesman told the Times.

Bush also served on the Board of Directors of Tenet Healthcare Corp., which supported the 2010 health care reform law loathed by conservatives and saw revenues rise because of it. His role there could draw fire from Republicans in the primary campaign.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME 2016

George W. Bush: ‘50-50’ Chance Jeb Bush Will Run in 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaks at an event at Illuminating Technologies Inc., in Greensboro, N.C. on Sept. 24, 2014.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, speaks at an event at Illuminating Technologies Inc., in Greensboro, N.C. on Sept. 24, 2014. Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call

"I'd give it a toss up," the former president said in a Sunday interview

Former President George W. Bush said the chances his brother and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will run for president in 2016 are “50-50.”

“He’s not here knocking on my door, you know, agonizing about the decision,” he said in a Sunday Face the Nation interview. “He knows exactly — you know, the ramifications on family, for example. He’s seen his dad and his brother go through the presidency. I’d give it a toss up.”

Bush said his father and fellow former president, George H. W. Bush, taught him that the presidency is still a worthy pursuit despite those “ramifications.”

“The priorities of your life don’t have to be compromised,” he said. “I know Jeb’s priority is his family. A priority is his family. I also know it’s his country. And his deep faith. And he has seen that you don’t have to sell those out in order to be a politician.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Calls for a Women’s ‘Movement’ Ahead of Elections

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall—AP

“These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and any election”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for a women’s “movement” on economic issues ahead of the midterm elections.

“These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and any election,” the presumed 2016 Democratic front-runner said. “We need people to feel that they’re part of a movement, that it’s not just part of an election, it’s part of a movement to really empower themselves, their families and take the future over in a way that is going to give us back the country that we care so much about.”

Clinton was speaking on a panel at the liberal Washington think tank Center for American Progress.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who shared the stage with Clinton on Thursday, have pushed to make women’s economic issues the forefront of the party’s 2014 campaign. Democrats lost the female vote in 2010 for the first time since the Reagan era, and with it control of the House and six Senate seats. They are trying to avoid a similar Republican wave this year. “Why now? What is our strategy? Well, it’s because we want women to vote,” Pelosi told the crowd.

The issue is also near and dear to Clinton’s heart. Many of her advisors from her failed 2008 campaign say that, in retrospect, she should have emphasized the historic nature of her campaign more. Clinton lost women to Barack Obama in nearly half the primaries they fought.

As Secretary of State, Clinton focused on bolstering international support for women and girls. In her second political appearance after resigning from that office more than a year ago, Clinton kept her focus on those topics. “We talk about a glass ceiling, but these [minimum wage] women don’t even have a secure floor under them,” she said at the time.

The Democratic leaders lamented Thursday what they called Republican obstruction of the women’s economic agenda in Congress. The GOP has blocked Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage—which disproportionally affects women—to $10.10 an hour, to fund universal pre-Kindergarten and other expanded child care efforts, paid maternity and paternity leaves and paid medical leave.

Clinton noted that by stymying women’s access to the workforce, the U.S. leaves 10% of increased GDP “on the table.”

“The argument is grounded in reality, but unfortunately the reality is not the context that these decisions are being made,” Clinton said. “Unfortunately, the Congress… is living in a reality-free zone. Politicians have to listen, and if they don’t it’s at their own peril.”

TIME 2016 presidential election

Iowa’s Leftwing Anti-Hillary Voters Look to Bernie Sanders

Though neither has declared their candidacy, dueling events show Democratic divisions

(Des Moines, Iowa)It is perhaps telling that the host of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ event Sunday night in Des Moines, Dave Swinton, has just rushed back from the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, where Hillary Clinton made an appearance the same day, flipping red meat and hinting at a run.

The 50-year-old senior pastor plans on caucusing for Clinton if she runs in 2016, and his wife, Shari, couldn’t resist the opportunity to take the whole family out to the event just 30 miles south. Swinton left most of his family behind while former President Bill Clinton was speaking so he could make it back in time to set up for the Sanders event scheduled in the basement of his Des Moines church, Grace United Methodist.

Swinton is curious to hear Sen. Sanders, an Independent, speak. A progressive group Swinton often works with has rented out his church’s basement for the event.

“Hillary seems to be the strongest candidate, and I have a lot of confidence in her leadership,” he says, taking a break from setting up chairs. “I thought her speech today hit all the right notes.”

Swinton’s political leanings show the uphill battle in store for a politician like Sanders in trying to gain traction in the 2016 Democratic primaries, should he decide to challenge the 800-pound shadow gorilla in the race, the former Secretary of State.

At the 37th annual Harkin Steak Fry—where Hillary Clinton received the tacit endorsement of Iowa’s powerful Democratic senator and Steak Fry host Tom Harkin— earlier Sunday afternoon, a crowd of more than 10,000 roared in approval when she hinted that she may just run again.

“Hi, Iowa,” Clinton yelled. “I’m baaaack!”

By contrast, Sanders’ event was a relatively low-key affair attended by more than 450 people–still a decent crowd, considering the next caucuses are more than 16 months away. Most who showed were left-leaning populists who supported John Edwards in 2008 and consider themselves solidly in the anti-Clinton camp.

“I like the issues Bernie’s hitting, his anger, because I’m angry,” says Mark Brooks, 62, an Air Force veteran who believes Clinton is too “corporate” to be a good president. “This isn’t the country I defended,” he adds.

Sanders’ message resounded with Brooks. Sanders noted, “We have more people living in poverty than any other time in the history of the United States of America,” touching on 2008-era Edwards’ populist message on poverty.

“It’s a crying shame!” a man yelled in the audience.

“It is a crying shame,” Sanders replied.

Calling for a new jobs program, investment in education and the public funding of elections, Sanders highlights that economic disparity in America has never been greater.

In his speech, Sanders rattles off figures that point to the unfairness that many of his supporters are most concerned about: that top 25 U.S. hedge fund managers made $24 billion last year, or the equivalent of the annual salaries of 450,000 public school teachers. That Walmart is now the largest employer in America while the Walton family, which owns Walmart, possesses as much wealth as the bottom 40% of all earners in America.

“It’s called indentured servitude!” another man yelled—at the top of Sanders’ speech, the politician encouraged “small-d” democratic participation, or what other candidates might consider heckling.

“Sometimes, it is,” Sanders answered gravely.

Right now, Sanders, who would have to switch parties to run for the Democratic nomination, is Clinton’s only major competition on the progressive left. But that doesn’t mean liberals aren’t hungering for some more competition. Stephen Blobaum, 51, a Des Moines salesman, also caucused for Edwards in 2008. He and his father, Reed Blobaum, 79, came to see Sanders speak and support his fire, but both are holding out hope that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will make a run.

“She’s my girlfriend,” Reed Blobaum says with a cheeky smile. “’We admire what Bernie’s doing, but she’s an accomplisher. She gets things done. And Hillary needs to get done.”

TIME States

See Governor Rick Perry’s New Mugshot

Texas Governor Rick Perry indictment over charges of alleged abuse of power left him required to something not common of a sitting governor: take a mugshot.

Perry turned himself in to have his mugshot taken on Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas.

Perry ardently objects to charges laid out against him by the Travis County District Attorney. He stated on Tuesday that he remained confident because of his belief that “the rule of law would prevail.”

Perry followed up his trip to the courthouse with a trip to an ice cream shop.

TIME 2016 presidential election

Romney: How Republicans Will Take Back the White House

Romney criticized Clinton's response to Bergdahl's release and expressed confidence that a Republican will take back the White House in 2016

After hosting a high-profile summit over the weekend that included many Republican presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday to discuss politics within the G.O.P. and the 2016 election.

When asked by host David Gregory what he would do if he were a presidential candidate running against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Romney pointed to Clinton’s past political record as her weakness.

“I think you have to consider what’s happened around the world during the years that she was secretary of State,” Romney said. “And you have to say it’s been a monumental bust.”

Romney also referred to Clinton’s comments regarding the exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, in which she said the released Taliban leaders did not pose a threat to the U.S.

“And she came back with a clueless answer,” Romney said. “She was clueless.”

According to Romney, those points will be “the foundation of how a Republican candidate is able to take back the White House.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Is Popular as Book Tour Launches, Poll Says

Clinton far outpaces a field of potential candidates for President

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains popular and well-liked for her tenure as America’s top diplomat, according to a new poll that puts the potential presidential candidate at the front of the 2016 pack on the eve of her book launch.

Two-thirds of registered voters see Clinton as a strong leader, and almost 60% approve of her job as Secretary of State, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll. Six in 10 Americans said she is honest and trustworthy.

Clinton has not announced she is running for President, and said Sunday that she wouldn’t make a decision until the end of the year. But amidst wide expectations that she’ll run again in 2016, 66% of Democratic-leaning voters said they would vote for Clinton in a presidential primary, according to the poll. Vice President Joe Biden would receive 12% of votes, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would garner 7%.

In a general election pitting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) against Clinton, Clinton would win with 53% of the vote, according to the poll.

TIME 2016 presidential election

Hillary Teases Timetable For 2016 Decision

Former Secretary of State tells ABC's Diane Sawyer she'll wait until this year's midterm elections are over before even thinking about running for president, but "will be on the way to making a decision by the end of the year"

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday she will be “on the way to making a decision” on a 2016 presidential run by the end of the year.

In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, due to be broadcast Monday, Clinton said she plans to campaign for Democratic candidates running in the 2014 midterms before making a decision on her own candidacy.

“I will be on the way to making a decision by the end of the year, yes,” she said. “Certainly not before then … I just want to kind of get through this year, travel around the country, sign books, help in the midterm elections in the fall, and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses about what I will – and will not – be thinking about as I make the decision.”

The former First Lady, who has been consistently coy about her exact timetable for announcing a presidential run, said it was “probably likely” an announcement wouldn’t come until 2015. “I’m not positive about that, but I think, you know, the way I make decisions, that’s probably likely,” Clinton said.

An ABC poll releases Sunday shows that 69 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support Clinton for the party’s nomination.

Clinton, who is currently on a media tour to publicize her memoir Hard Choices, also called President Barack Obama’s decision to swap five Guantanamo prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a “hard choice.”

“One of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can,” Clinton said. “It doesn’t matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation. It doesn’t matter. We bring our people home.”

[ABC]

TIME 2016 Election

5 Things to Know From Hillary Clinton’s New Book

Clinton on Bergdahl, Benghazi, bin Laden and more

CBS managed to pick up a copy of Hillary Clinton’s new book Hard Choices, which is scheduled for release June 10. Here are some of the choice revelations from the former secretary of state and possible 2016 presidential candidate.

Clinton knew the prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could be politically difficult back home

In every discussion about prisoners, we demanded the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured in 2009. There would not be any agreement about prisoners without the sergeant coming home….

I acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war.

Clinton remains defiant about investigations into the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi

It is unlikely that there will ever be anything close to full agreement on exactly what happened that night, how it happened, or why it happened. But that should not be confused with a lack of effort to discover the truth or to share it with the American people.

She was most proud of President Barack Obama on the day Osama bin Laden was killed

We watched on the video feed as the SEALs improvised, sweeping through the courtyard of the compound and heading inside to look for bin Laden. Contrary to some news reports and what you see in the movies, we had no means to see what was happening inside the building itself. All we could do was wait for an update from the team on the ground. I looked at the President. He was calm. Rarely have I been prouder to serve by his side as I was that day.

She doesn’t quite compare Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler, but…

He also proved over time to be thin-skinned and autocratic, resenting criticism and eventually cracking down on dissent and debate…

She says she was wrong to vote to authorize the Iraq War in 2003

I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.

Meeting with Obama before the 2008 Democratic convention was like an “awkward first date”

We stared at each other like two teenagers on an awkward first date, taking a few sips of Chardonnay. … both Barack and I and our staffs had long lists of grievances. It was time to clear the air.

[CBS]

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