Politico got a pretty big scoop last night. A nearly certain 2016 presidential candidate is preparing for a 2016 campaign, just in case the potential candidate decides to enter the race, mostly by proxies rather than directly. At this point, you could fill in any name you want, but in this case it’s Hillary Clinton:
Early last summer in her Georgian-style home near Washington’s Embassy Row, Hillary Clinton met with a handful of aides for a detailed presentation on preparing for a 2016 presidential campaign.
Three officials from the Democratic consulting firm Dewey Square Group — veteran field organizer Michael Whouley, firm founder Charlie Baker and strategist Jill Alper, whose expertise includes voter attitudes toward women candidates — delivered a dispassionate, numbers-driven assessment. They broke down filing deadlines in certain states, projected how much money Clinton would need to raise and described how field operations have become more sophisticated in the era of Barack Obama.
The meeting was organized by Minyon Moore, a longtime Clinton intimate also at Dewey Square who has informally become the potential candidate’s political eyes and ears of late. Clinton listened closely but said little and made no commitments, according to people familiar with the nearly hourlong gathering. It appears to have been the only formal 2016-related presentation Clinton has been given from anyone outside her immediate circle.
You know, it’s 2014, not 2013 or 2012. The first signs of primary campaigns will begin to pop up in about 12 months, if the pattern from the last two cycles holds. People who want to run for the presidency are expected to start doing some preliminary due diligence at this stage in the cycle, regardless. The best that Politico has on Hillary Clinton is that she took one consultant meeting a few months ago?
Pretty much, yeah:
Publicly, Clinton insists she’s many months away from a decision about her political future. But a shadow campaign on her behalf has nevertheless been steadily building for the better part of a year — a quiet, intensifying, improvisational effort to lay the groundwork for another White House bid.
Some of the activity has the former first lady’s tacit approval. Some involves outside groups that are operating independently, and at times in competition with one another, to prepare a final career act for the former senator and secretary of state, whose legacy as the most powerful woman in the history of American politics is already secure.
This, according to Politico’s e-mail digest, is their second-ranking top story today. Only Liz Cheney’s exit from the Senate race in Wyoming tops it, mainly for its breaking-news value, one presumes. Yet there isn’t anything at all revelatory in this piece. This is the kind of background filler that could easily be written for any of the potential high-recognition candidates for 2016, and which has been written about Hillary repeatedly already, right down to the “do it vs don’t do it” camps.
Maggie Haberman does a good job of running down some of the insiders and outsiders that would form the campaign, if it launches, but there’s nothing in the piece that suggests that anything has changed at all since that one outside consultation last summer. It will make a useful touchstone for later when Hillary finally decides to enter the race or retire for good, but it gives no insight into where that decision is, nor any surprises on preparation for the campaign as a contingency.