In between all of the day to day duties of checking in on war here, there, and, well, everywhere, President Obama has conveniently slipped the topic of “immigration reform” into the newspapers resting on the kitchen tables of the American people. The entire country is currently talking of course about President Obama’s executive action of sparing almost 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Many might think that this is just another day in politics, but the real political buzz on this move has been that Hillary Clinton has come forward to publicly back the President’s move on immigration reform according to MSNBC on Nov. 22. In other political buzz, just days after being patted on the back by Hillary, President Obama responded in kind by publicly backing her as well according to ABC News on Nov. 23, saying she’d make a “great President.”
All of this backing by a President, for a President, and possible hints about a future President, could all of this really be just a coincidence? We are learning news from Politico that suggests, no. It is likely not just a coincidence that Hillary thinks Obama’s immigration reform is a great idea, and that President Obama thinks Hillary would make a great President, and that these things are happening at the exact same time.
Coincidentally, or not, Politico has recently reported that should Hillary make an announcement of any kind any time soon, she is already locked and loaded in the staff department. The SuperPAC “Ready for Hillary” is also picking up steam boasting a Facebook membership of over 2 million members already. Is the Team Hillary announcement soon in the works?
If the matter is being kept a secret, rumors of a possible announcement are being fueled by all of this public backing. MSNBC reports that when President Obama made the executive call to spare many undocumented immigrants from deportation, Hillary Clinton raised her hand to say “Yes, I agree.” Because that’s what everybody does after they retire.
Clinton’s first public acknowledgement of this occurred at an event for the New York Historical Society last Thursday where she was being honored as a “History Maker” award. She referred to President Barack Obama’s move as an “historic” one, and said,
“I think the President took an historic step, and I support it. We should all remember…that this is about people’s lives. This is about, I would venture to guess, the people who served us tonight, who prepared our food tonight, and those who perform construction jobs. These are the lives of people who are, in many instances, long time residents and workers who have not only raised children, but made contributions.”
In an interview earlier in the week with Walter Isaacson from the Aspen Institute, Hillary Clinton referred to other history makers she admires when discussing reform. She made it clear that the Roosevelt family was one that she deeply admired throughout her life. Many fans of Hillary Clinton know how dear she holds Eleanor Roosevelt to her heart, but it was not Eleanor she quoted in her interview with Isaacson.
Instead Hillary spoke of Teddy Roosevelt, saying she had been “thinking of him a lot lately”, and about all of the wonderful things he did in his Administration to restore economic balance to an impoverished country. Clinton told Isaacson how she admired how the Roosevelts were clearly a “family of privilege” but didn’t act like it. She said,
“That’s something we need now. There’s so much anger in large parts of the electorate right now, people whose incomes have not rebounded from the Great Recession. Where people feel….they are not being viewed as important to employers, to their government, in the community, they feel that something is not working.”
But Clinton does not want the country to over-react to this anxiety. She also praised FDR, Franklin Roosevelt and his “extremism.” She said,
“There was lots of pressure, because of the economic conditions…for people to be much more radical. I think our country kind of moves in pendulum swings. We go maybe a little bit too far in one way, and then we swing back. We are most comfortable when we have that balance in the vital center. And we are, I think, in need of getting back to that.”
When she accepted the “History Maker” award, Hillary Clinton was surrounded by many of her political allies. Many of them included Senators, governors, and the President of the City Council, and they all published letters of congratulations to Hillary in the evening’s program. It is a move that has not gone un-noticed and launched Hillary Clinton directly into the political conversation again.
Meanwhile, a Democrat Super PAC that is not affiliated with Hillary Clinton but has been named “Ready for Hillary” has been working to prepare for a campaign according to Politico last week. Politico reports that “Clinton insiders” are preparing for just this big announcement. Harold Ickes, former staffer to President Bill Clinton said the Super PAC called “Ready for Hillary” was a “leap of faith.” He said,
“It [Ready for Hillary] was a leap of faith. We didn’t know if people would come to us, but we now have 3 million names, which will be important to her if she runs.”
Politico reports that “Ready for Hillary” has not only collected 3 million members, but also about $10 million dollars. The group asserts that they have “no inside knowledge” on whether or not she will run, but that there is, “early organizing on her behalf to facilitate the transition from private citizen to candidate.” Executive Director Adam Parkhomenko for Ready for Hillary wants to squash any ideas that Hillary is a shoe-in. He said,
“She’s not inevitable. It’s not going to be easy.”
Supporters of Hillary expect “Ready for Hillary” to calm down a bit if the announcement is made. Critics on the other hand are saying the group is giving Hillary over exposure that could hurt her if she runs. Joel Benenson, a pollster for Obama, said,
“I don’t know exactly what the group did, but it seemed to me way too early to send a signal and activate a group that was only going to create an aura of speculation that itself became undesirable. So why do things that are going to create consequences that are undesirable?”
Politico reports that “other senior Democratic strategists” also had problems with the Super PAC, but not problems they wanted to voice. The Super PAC is still considered “low dollar” to many. Critics feel the point of the group would be to build a mailing list for campaign purposes which could have waited until after the announcement.
The Super PAC would be expected to shut down post announcement. However “Ready for Hillary” will continue with events and fundraisers in order to keep their momentum until the announcement comes in. That is of course, if the announcement occurs.
And, if it does, Politico is saying that Team Hillary is locked and loaded. Should she run, it is widely speculated that John Podesta, a current White House staffer, is already slated to be the likely 2016 Clinton Campaign chair. On whether or not the Super PAC harms or helps Hillary, Podesta says,
“I think Secretary Clinton was always going to be open to scrutiny and [reporters] were always going to be poking around at me and others to say ‘What’s she gonna do?’, so I don’t think it mattered that much other than to give some way for people who supported her to express that support.”
There are many Hillary supporters coming out that are saying the “Ready for Hillary” group did not speak too soon. A former staffer for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign and Democratic pollster Geoff Garin says,
“Ready for Hillary did not create this movement. It channeled the movement, and channeled it in a very constructive way.”
One of the senior advisors with “Ready for Hillary” has also said there have been lessons learned along the way. Craig Smith told Politico,
“One of the lessons learned from 2008 is that nothing in politics is inevitable. That’s why we got to work early and why we continue working today. We don’t assume that organizing millions of supporters will guarantee success, but I bet it helps.”
Another senior advisor to the group, Tracy Sefl, has echoed the same sentiments. She says,
“The goal of this organization has always been clear – Ready for Hillary has an explicit mission and a stated path to accomplish it. Now, there are several million people who can take pride in – and rightly claim credit for – the progress made.”
The group is establishing presence in every state, through events and fundraisers. The group is also hoping to have an especially heavy presence in Iowa where Clinton’s campaign suffered most in the 2008 caucuses. By all accounts it looks like this wheel has started spinning without an announcement.
And of course, having the President himself say you’d make a good President never hurts either. Some say when former President Bill Clinton said that about President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention it was the deal closer for many Americans. Now, President Barack Obama appears to be returning the favor via an interview with ABC News.
ABC News reported on Nov. 23 that President Obama spoke highly of Hillary Clinton in a recent interview. He admitted that the course of his relationship with the American people over his two terms may have “taken some political dings”, and acknowledges that a fresh face, or in his words a “new car smell” would be good for America. That fresh face he suggested should be Hillary Clinton. According to ABC News, Obama said,
“I think the American people, you know, they’re going to want – you know, that new car smell. You know, their own – they want to drive something off the lot that doesn’t have as much mileage as me.”
Obama was asked by ABC correspondent George Stephanopoulos how the White House would navigate a transition with Hillary Clinton at the helm. President Barack Obama said,
“She’s not going to agree with me on everything. And, you know, one of the benefits of running for President is you can stake out your own positions.”
During the interview Obama referred to Hillary as a friend, and said that if she ran, she would be a “formidable candidate” and a “great President.” He also said, whoever the Democratic candidate is, they have his support. According to ABC News, Obama said,
“I am very interested in making sure that I’ve got a Democratic successor. So I’m going to do everything I can, obviously, to make sure that whoever the nominee is, is successful.”
Though the Super PAC “Ready for Hillary” has picked up some speed, the criticisms of the organization do not seem to have accomplished that same goal. That is reinforced even further with Obama’s interview that echoes the same sentiments as Ready for Hillary. That being that, she would make a great President.
What do you think? Will there be an announcement from Team Hillary before Christmas? Watch what former President Bill Clinton told Ellen about his wife’s possible future candidacy.