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Yes, I am thinking about running for president in 2016, says Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton listens to speeches at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa, where she told crowds she was 'thinking about' running for the US presidency in 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

Hillary Clinton listens to speeches at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa, where she told crowds she was 'thinking about' running for the US presidency in 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

REUTERS

Hillary Clinton listens to speeches at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa, where she told crowds she was 'thinking about' running for the US presidency in 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

It might be the worst-kept secret in Washington, but Hillary Clinton made only the most token of efforts to dampen speculation she will run for the office of US president in 2016 when attending a fundraising barbecue last weekend.

"It's true, I'm thinking about it," she teased a crowd of over 6,000 Democrat faithful who had gathered in a lush field outside the small town of Indianola for a "steak fry" to raise money for Democrats in this November's midterm elections.

"Too many people only get excited about presidential campaigns," she added, urging the crowd to focus only on the local race for the US senate, before admitting with mock coyness. "Look, I get excited about presidential campaigns."

The crowd played along with the political panto, egging on Mrs Clinton to declare her candidacy right there and then, but she demurred again, promising instead to concentrate her fire on helping Democrats keep control of the Senate in November.

But when a national figure like Mrs Clinton comes to Iowa then general election politics is never far from anyone's mind.

Iowa's January caucuses fire the election starting gun and frequently create the momentum that decides the outcome of the primary season to come.

It was Barack Obama's stunning victory here in 2008 - pushing Mrs Clinton narrowly into third place behind the now-disgraced John Edwards - that announced the grassroots power of the Obama campaign, and the fatal flaws in Mrs Clinton's own.

As could be seen recently on her nationwide book tour, when she caused a storm by testily complaining she and her husband were "dead broke" when they left the White House, Mrs Clinton has been accused of appearing over-entitled.

Mrs Clinton's supporters are already laying the groundwork to avoid a repeat of 2008, when Hillary operatives were also accused of being aloof and out-of-touch.

This time team Hillary is determined to be seen to be taking nothing for granted.

In keeping with her reputation as a candidate who is better at policy than raw politics, Mrs Clinton delivered a fairly low-wattage speech, but one that hinted clearly at taking care of the squeezed middle. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent