Sixteen months after leaving the State Department and six months before she decides whether to run for President again, Hillary Clinton is undertaking a rollout worthy of the highest office.
It officially begins Tuesday, when her book Hard Choices hits stores and mailboxes across the country by the hundreds of thousands. But you can also say it began a year ago, when Clinton began hitting the lucrative speaking circuit. And there’s of course been the carefully targeted leaks of nuggets from the book and media interviews. In many ways, the next few weeks are just more of the same: there will be lots more public speaking, as well as a campaign-style bus, courtesy of Ready for Hillary, the Clinton-insider sanctioned super PAC laying the groundwork for a campaign. In just about every way, it appears to be the continuation of a campaign that began the moment she left the Obama Administration. But Clinton says pay no attention — she has not yet made up her mind. “The time for another hard choice will come soon enough,” she writes in her book, a copy of which was reviewed by TIME.
So the campaign-that-is-not-a-campaign rolls on.
On Monday night, ABC News will air an hour-long prime-time special with Clinton interviewed by Diane Sawyer, followed Tuesday morning with a live interview on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. It’s an arrangement similar to that negotiated by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when they released their memoirs.
Hillary Clinton’s book isn’t a memoir in the traditional sense, but rather a delicately curated account of her time at the State Department clearly aimed at shoring up her vulnerabilities in preparation for a possible presidential campaign. It is filled with behind-the-scenes tales of meetings with foreign leaders and modestly revelatory insights into the Obama Administration’s inner sanctum. There is her long-delayed apology for her vote for the Iraq War, but more often than not the book presents her as a levelheaded decisionmaker, whose foreign policy recommendations were right, even if sometimes unheeded by President Barack Obama, her onetime rival.
The book closes with an outline of the economic challenges facing the nation, a tacit acknowledgement that foreign policy has faded on the public’s list of presidential priorities. Its release comes as Clinton has worked to align herself, at least rhetorically, with her party’s populist wing, delivering a rousing critique of rising income inequality last month in a speech at the New America Foundation in Washington.
Clinton will kick off the book tour with a stop at the Union Square Barnes & Noble bookstore in New York City, followed by a paid speech to the United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute in her hometown of Chicago. On Wednesday morning, she will be interviewed by a former aide to both her husband and Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The subsequent days will take her from Toronto to Austin, and next week she will tape a town-hall-style event airing on CNN at the Newseum in Washington. At no fewer than eight locations, she will be trailed by the Ready for Hillary bus and its volunteers.
There’s even a counter-narrative, offered in the 112-page e-book Failed Choices authored by Republican research outfit America Rising that will be released later this week.
In the book and on television, Clinton says she has not made up her mind about another run for the White House. But that won’t stop her from already doing everything that a full-bore candidate for President would do at this point in the 2016 election cycle.