To be determined.
Perhaps no figure in American political life has surfaced on Twitter quite the way Clinton did. But none shares her position in the public arena right now as a potential president-in-waiting. Everything the former secretary of state does now is met with anticipation and parsed for clues that might answer the question: Will she or won’t she run?
“She’s news incarnate,” gushed Paul Begala, a former adviser to Bill Clinton.
This seems to be how the next year or so will go for Hillary — she’s known worldwide as just Hillary — as she carves out a new public role and begins to contemplate campaigning for president in 2016.
Clinton’s emergence on social media comes a few days before she is set to deliver a major public address at the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago, offering her thoughts on domestic policies for the first time since her unsuccessful White House bid in 2008.
Clinton has been busy writing a book and setting up an office at the recently renamed Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, where she is developing a philanthropic agenda of her own.
Her debut also coincided with a new Gallup survey finding that her favorability had dropped to 58 percent, her lowest level in the pollsters’ ratings since 2009. The decline was driven largely by a shift in support among independent voters.
One factor could be the recent Republican-led attacks on her handling of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, last year — an issue likely to dog her should she run for president.
With her emergence on Twitter, Clinton tried to stake out turf above all that. She is defining herself not as a staid politician but as a witty, self-effacing and almost hip netizen. That’s saying something for a 65-year-old who came of age when Beatles and Elvis records (the vinyl kind) were all the rage.
Clinton’s avatar is a black-and-white photograph of steely, globe-trotting Hillary on a military plane wearing dark sunglasses and reading her BlackBerry. The picture was popularized on a Tumblr site in which users imagined “Texts From Hillary.”
Her bio reads: “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD . . . ”
“I think it’s hilarious,” said Mo Elleithee, who was a spokesman on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. (FLOAR, by the way, stands for First Lady of Arkansas).
“Twitter is not a dry medium; it is not a place to be boring,” Elleithee added. “The fact that she embraced the whole ‘Texts From Hillary’ phenomenon, the fact that she pokes fun at those who poke fun at her in her bio, it shows that she gets this modern era of communications and is going to use that to help say whatever it is that she wants to say.”