Now we know what Hillary Rodham Clinton is really going to be doing while she decides over the next year or so whether to run for president in 2016: She’ll be writing a book, and she’ll lend her name and support to women's and girls’ issues.
No one took it too seriously when the former secretary of State, coming off an exhausting four years as President Obama’s chief diplomat, joked to anyone who asked that she planned to spend her newfound free time getting in shape and cleaning out long-neglected closets.
New York publisher Simon & Schuster put such talk to rest Thursday when it announced that it will publish Mrs. Clinton’s memoir and foreign-policy analysis on her years at the helm of US diplomacy. The book is as-yet untitled and has a tentative publication date of June 2014.
The statement came out a day after Clinton reemerged on the Washington stage by appearing at a glittering human rights event at the Kennedy Center.
In a 12-minute speech at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards ceremony, Clinton said she could attest to the progress being made on women’s rights because her wide travels as secretary of State had introduced her to thousands of women and girls in every corner of the world who are fighting to advance their political and social status and their families’ well-being.
Simon & Schuster said it “couldn’t be happier" about the new book, noting the publishing house's "long association" with the former secretary of State, first lady, and senator. Simon & Schuster also published “Living History” in 2003, for which Clinton received $8 million.
The publisher’s statement gave no contract details for the new project. But its characterization of what readers can expect from the newest Clinton tome – in particular how it will offer a front-row seat to the major foreign-policy events of Clinton’s tenure, and the former secretary’s thoughts on “the urgent, ongoing need for American leadership in a changing world” – already has some political observers interpreting the book as the likely start of Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.
After all, they say, publication will certainly be accompanied by an extensive national book tour – about the time speculation on 2016’s candidates will be warming up.
Clinton, who faced questions on her future political intentions at just about every stop she made at home and abroad as secretary of State, repeatedly suggested she was not inclined to run for president again. But she has never given the categorical, LBJ-esque “I will not seek, nor will I accept” statement.
The other famous Clinton, husband (and former president) Bill, is said to be encouraging her to run, while some friends and close associates have said that a desire to see a woman president in her lifetime is Clinton’s strongest motivation to decide in favor of trying to succeed her 2008 rival, Mr. Obama.
With a book to write, Clinton probably won’t be making a decision soon. But she can get started on her notes and chapter-organizing knowing that, at least for now, she has no rivals should she decide to run. In early polling she is the clear Democratic favorite, and she leaves potential Republican rivals such as Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush in the dust – even in their home state of Florida.
Actually Clinton does have one potential rival nipping at her heels this far out from 2016: In one recent poll, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie trails her by only 3 percentage points.
But all that is for another day. In the meantime, according to Simon & Schuster, Clinton will be writing down her role in – and thoughts on – foreign policy events ranging from the killing of Osama bin Laden and the fall of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi to the US “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific.