Hillary Clinton has carefully avoided answering the question that has Washington in a permanent buzz: Will she, or won't she? But she has surrogates eager to answer if she won't. They're getting on with the campaign. Groups with names like Ready for Hillary, Correct the Record and even a super PAC called Priorities USA recycled from Obama's 2008 campaign are skirmishing with Clinton opponents in anticipation of the struggle to come.
One opposing super PAC, called America Rising, is concentrating its early focus on her record as secretary of state. "There won't be a single tangible (accomplishment) they can cite," Tim Miller, director of America Rising, tells The Wall Street Journal.
The tough questions she avoids now will be about Benghazi and how she responded to the terrorist attacks on an American legation that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. She angrily has declined to talk about Benghazi, once dismissing the question with a contemptuous retort: "What difference, at this point, does it make?" We can expect to see that video footage again and again.
One of Clinton's oldest friends, dating from her years in Arkansas, thinks in the end she might not run. "I'm not in the political camp," says Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, a filmmaker who worked on several Clinton campaigns. "I'm in the friends camp, and the friends camp definitely has concerns about her running." Cheryl Mills, who was Clinton's chief of staff at the State Department, stands in both camps, and she has told her not to run. There are lingering concerns about her health -- she suffered a blood clot in her head two years ago -- and another losing race would tarnish the record made over four decades.
Hillary Clinton and the Democrats would focus on young voters, the millennials, but these are just the voters with little memory of her White House years with Bubba. The young might see her, at 69 on Election Day 2016, as an old lady. No woman wants that on her resume.