Shock! Hillary Is (Almost Definitely) Running

  • Share
  • Read Later
In case anyone hadn't figured it out by now, the question of Hillary Clinton's Senate run is all over but the announcing. The First Lady will set up an exploratory committee in early July, which means she's firmly committed to getting some people together next month to look into it -- and telling her competition to scram. "It's clear she is running," New York representative (and faithful Hillary bridesmaid) Nita Lowey told the New York Times after an orchestrated call of abdication to the First Lady. "It's time for me to move on."

Hillary didn't try to stop her. So why doesn't she just announce, already? Natural caution, for one thing -- Clinton is famously overprepared for everything. And the move keeps her name out there without having to actually take any positions as a candidate. "Reagan was the master of this," says TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan. "In '84 he generated a lot of publicity simply by refusing to say whether he would run for a second term even though it was obvious he would." To use a 2000 analogy, she'd rather be phantom front-runner George W. Bush than a sitting target like Al Gore -- especially since she doesn't even have an opponent yet. It also doesn't hurt that as long as she's undeclared, she can take Manhattan in Air Force One and do all her pre-campaign campaigning on the U.S. taxpayers' dime. Get ready for a long, coy summer.