Clinton: Potential Primary Rivals Free To ‘Do Whatever They Choose To Do’
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton is embarking on a book tour this week that will feature overtones of a potential presidential campaign in 2016 and could offer a window into the former Secretary of State’s stamina and how she might present her rationale for another White House bid.
Clinton’s memoir, “Hard Choices,” will be released on Tuesday, accompanied by interviews with ABC News and other news organizations. Clinton will appear at book events this week in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and suburban Washington, D.C.
The former first lady remains the leading Democratic contender for the White House if she chooses to run for president again and Republicans have aggressively challenged her record at the State Department in anticipation of another campaign.
In her new book, Clinton presents her four years as President Barack Obama’s top diplomat as a period of tough decision-making that sought to repair relationships around the globe and reshape American foreign policy.
Clinton’s words have been carefully parsed for clues to her thinking about 2016. In an excerpt of an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday, the former first lady said she looks forward to traveling the country to promote the book and would “help in the midterm elections in the fall and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses.”
She suggested her timetable could stretch into 2015, and said she would decide on running “when it feels right for me to decide.”
But she also told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that potential Democratic primary rivals were free to “do whatever they choose to do” and recalled that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, didn’t launch his first presidential campaign until the fall of 1991. Some Democrats worry that by freezing the field, she could leave other Democrats at a disadvantage if she decides not to run.
Republicans have said the 66-year-old Clinton’s health could be a relevant issue after she dealt with a concussion and was treated for a blood clot at the end of 2012. Clinton has said in interviews that she is in good health and noted that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a potential Republican candidate, told her about his own experience with concussions. She told ABC News she would release her medical records in accordance with past presidential candidates.
For Clinton, the book tour could shine a light on her health and endurance. The events will put her in front of large crowds and long lines of book buyers eager for an autographed copy. The schedule resembles the frenetic nature of a campaign.
The tour will take her to Canada next week, with stops in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, along with U.S. appearances in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. Other stops in June include San Francisco, San Diego and Denver, where she will join her husband and daughter for the family’s annual Clinton Global Initiative America meeting.
Passages of the book offer hints of Clinton’s political future and the tour could signal how she might frame a campaign.
While her book takes readers through international hotspots, her epilogue delves heavy on domestic politics and concerns about the decline in middle-class income, the growth of poverty and the need for “more opportunity and less inequality.”
Republicans are creating their own book launch. America Rising, a GOP super PAC that has offered a steady critique of Clinton’s policies, released an e-book called, “Failed Choices.” It argues Clinton’s record was flawed by “caution that comes from a calculating politician” and “poor judgment.”
Among Republicans, the leading example remains Clinton’s handling of the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Asked in the ABC interview if she will testify before a new congressional committee investigating the attacks, Clinton said that will depend on the people running the hearings.
“I’m not going to say one way or another,” Clinton said. “We’ll see what they decide to do, how they conduct themselves: Whether this is one more travesty about the loss of four Americans or whether this is in the best tradition of the Congress, an effort to try and figure out what we can do better.”
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