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Hillary Clinton is giving signs that she is seriously mulling another run for the White House, and a top aide and ally is not dissuading people from believing just that.
Philippe Reines, a veteran spokeman and consigliere who served as her gatekeeper in the Senate and State Department and played Donald trump during 2016 debate preparations, encouraged Democrats to look at Clinton again and laid out a rationale for a 2020 candidacy.
“It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix—either conversationally or in formal polling—as a 2020 candidate,” he told told Politico. “She’s younger than Donald Trump by a year. She’s younger than Joe Biden by four years. Is it that she’s run before? This would be Bernie Sanders’ second time, and Biden’s third time. Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her.”
It was a mistake for Democrats to punish Clinton for the mistakes she made in 2016. “Chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification,” he said. “She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death.”
When asked what was the likelihood of her running, he responded: “It’s somewhere between highly unlikely and zero, but it’s not zero.”
Many Democrats have dismissed the idea of another Clinton presidential run, but Reines argues that her base of 32 million people far outweighs any support for other potential candidates, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., or Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Clinton dropped out of site immediately after her loss to Trump in November 2016, only to reemerge months later in several extensive televised interviews and a book release that outlined her view of what happened during the campaign.
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have come under fire recently as the #MeToo movement continues. The couple has been questioned by politicians and members of the media as to whether they would have handled the Monica Lewinsky scandal differently if it occurred today.
Despite the attacks, especially stemming from when Clinton said her husband did not abuse his power when he engaged in an affair with Lewinsky, the two are embarking on a 13-city tour in November.
Many Democrats see Clinton’s post-candidate life as unhelpful to their agenda, especially in revisiting the sexual scandals involving her husband. Democrats have steered away from having her on the campaign trail. One senior party strategist said she represented “the kiss of death” for candidates.