“She’s not a candidate, so we haven’t sat around the table and said, ‘OK, what do you think about these issues?’ “said Kiki McLean, a senior adviser to Clinton during her 2008 campaign. “When she does weigh in, she does so from a very thoughtful and educated point of view.”

The gap in Clinton’s public record between her first presidential campaign and the moment if and when she launches a second one offers both opportunity and risk. Opportunity for a baggage-laden veteran to reintroduce herself to voters and reposition herself to be more appealing to the rising populist Left. Risk, in that critics will scrutinize the reintroduction and repositioning for flip-flops.

“If she makes a dramatic jump to the left on these hot-button issues from where she was in 2008, then it’s going to be seen as a really craven political move,” said Tim Miller, executive director of the Republican super PAC America Rising. “Voters already think she’s too partisan and too political, so this is a danger spot.”

Miller also argued that even though Clinton was working for the commander in chief, her State Department role makes her “complicit” in Obama’s foreign policy agenda. “It’s not like she can come out of this dark period and say she opposed all these excesses of the security state. That’s not going to be credible,” he said. “The idea that she can sit on the sidelines and wait and see how these tough debates play out doesn’t inspire confidence.”