Hillary Clinton’s round of private meals with Barack Obama and Joe Biden must have been about something other than old friends catching up, and after the news over the weekend that the Vice President will be politicking in Iowa next month I’m wondering if she might have told them she’s not running for president.
Biden is to headline retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s famous Steak Fry in September, long considered a major event on Iowa’s political calendar and a must-stop for leading presidential contenders. At the very least it signals that he is serious about running.
Did Biden get a boost of confidence by hearing from HRC herself that she isn’t playing for the White House?
If she is running, the last thing Clinton would want in a presidential bid is another Iowa problem. In 2008 she vacillated so long about whether to take the Iowa Caucuses seriously that Obama got the jump ball and became an overnight superstar by beating her.
Skipping the state in 2016 might seem best for her — breaking Iowa’s stranglehold on nomination politics would be nice — but history doesn’t show that to be such a good idea.
Clinton’s first political event since leaving the State Department is an upcoming fundraiser for her pal Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor in Virginia — a battleground state in general elections, but insignificant for primary campaigns.
If this is another case of Clinton thinking she can wait longer than other candidates to jump in, good luck with that, for it was her undoing last time. Perhaps this time she figures Biden gets out there too early, implodes and she picks up the pieces. But that would be convoluted conjecture.
Telling Biden now that she isn’t running would be a big favor, allowing him time to build forces in key states before the emergence of other candidates who are waiting for her decision.
But if Biden and Clinton are to run against each other it seems unwise for her to let much time go by without placing a bid in Iowa.