Looks like someone needs a narrative change. Business Insider’s Hunter Walker reports from a source within Clintonland that Hillary Clinton will finally announce her intent to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, perhaps as soon as Saturday:
A source with knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s plans has confirmed that she will officially announce her 2016 presidential bid on Saturday or Sunday. This will be imminently followed by campaign travel. …
She has been ramping up her presidential preparations including leasing office space for a headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and hiring key staffers.
On Tuesday, CNN reported Clinton’s official announcement was “likely only days away.”
If true, the timing makes all sorts of sense, but it also comes at some risk. Two months ago, Hillary Clinton looked like a juggernaut. Now she’s tumbling downward in both favorability and dominance, thanks to two scandals and the entry of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul into the race:
Perhaps the surprise entry of Lincoln Chafee today might have forced her hand. Until now, Hillary has looked so inevitable as the nominee that it might have kept potential candidates on the sidelines. Chafee’s entry shows that a competitive primary might be on a lot of Democrats’ minds, and the longer she waits (and the more her numbers keep trending downward), the more likely a primary fight becomes. Jumping in now gives Hillary a chance to turn things around.
That path holds a lot of risk for Hillary, though. She has a track record of mediocrity at best when it comes to campaigning, as her book tour amply demonstrated last year. The trend over the last quarter century of polling shows that the more people see of Hillary Clinton, the less they like her. At the same time, the scandals will force the media to at least ask for answers at these events, and unlike with her paid speeches, Hillary can’t entirely duck the press on the campaign trail. If she’s lucky, reporters will spend time on the e-mail scandal and avoid the Clinton Foundation’s trail of money and favors, even though today’s eruption shows that there is plenty to ask about.
Why announce on a weekend (assuming that Hunter Walker got this right) when most people aren’t paying attention to the news? For most candidates, an announcement allows a candidate to draw lots of attention to themselves, but that may be a bug rather than a feature for Hillary. At the end of Walker’s article, another source laughs that Marco Rubio’s rollout on Monday will get trumped by Hillary’s announcement over the weekend, but that doesn’t make any sense at all. After all, the idea would be to cut off the press interest of an announcement short by scheduling yours immediately afterward, not before. Team Hillary may be hoping that the press will only have a short window before chasing the next 2016 squirrel in Rubio’s candidacy, pushing the media to apply scrutiny to the Republican rather than herself. In that sense, Sunday works even better for Hillary than Saturday.
Update: I’ve changed the headlines, because when I see BI I know it means Business Insider. Some commenters got left with a much different impression, which I assure you was not my intention.