Elizabeth Warren did an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep on Monday morning in which he asked her, repeatedly, about whether she plans to run for president in 2016. She said "no." Ish.

INSKEEP: Senator Warren, as you must know, that even as you were fighting over this in the Senate, there was a group called Ready for Warren that wants you to run for president, that released a letter signed by more than 300 people who describe themselves as former Obama campaign workers and staffers and aides. They want you to run. What do you say to them?
WARREN: I'm, I'm not running for president. That's not what we're doing. We had a really important fight in the United States Congress just this past week. And I'm putting all my energy into that fight and to what happens after this.
INSKEEP: Would you tell these independent groups, "Give it up!" You're just never going to run?
WARREN: I told them, "I'm not running for president."
INSKEEP: You're putting that in the present tense, though. Are you never going to run?
WARREN: I am not running for president.
INSKEEP: You're not putting a "never" on that.
WARREN: I am not running for president. You want me to put an exclamation point at the end?

So, she isn't running for president. Right now. As of today. Present tense.

Yes, I am parsing Warren's words like crazy.  But, also yes, Warren absolutely knew that Inskeep would ask her about running for president and had an answer -- or answers -- ready. And when given the opportunity to definitely rule out running for president -- past, present or future -- Warren didn't do it. That's on purpose. (Remember that Warren's Senate chief of staff is Mindy Myers, a very successful -- and very underrated -- campaign manager who knows the political world as well as anyone.)

Now, Warren's unwillingness to make a Sherman-esque declaration does not mean she is secretly plotting a presidential bid in 2016.  But, it's a savvy move nonetheless. Here's why:

1. Let's say Warren absolutely does not want to run for president and won't be persuaded no matter what happens in the world over the next three to six months.  Okay, fine.  It still does her NO good to definitively rule out running right now because the second she does that, the huge national media spotlight will begin roving elsewhere -- limiting Warren's influence.  At the moment, there is no story bigger in politics than what Warren will do. She can use that attention to push her pet issues -- restricting corporate America and addressing income inequality. She did just that last week with her loudly-declared opposition to the omnibus bill because of its loosening of some derivative trading rules on corporations. Warren's power is at its height nationally at the moment. It makes zero sense for her to pop that balloon herself.

2. I don't doubt Warren isn't super-interested in the presidential race right now. But, circumstances change. And, over the next few months -- if the drumbeat for her candidacy by the party's left keeps up or even grows louder -- who knows what might happen? Warren is clearly quite passionate about her palette of issues and if someone (or someones) got in her ear and convinced her that the best/only way for those issues to be seriously addressed would be by her running for president, then maybe she would change her mind. And, what if -- for whatever reason -- Hillary Rodham Clinton decides not to run? We would have an entirely different Democratic primary race -- and one that Warren would probably be favored to win. Point is, stuff changes in politics. (Who would have thought that Colt McCoy would be the starting QB for the Washington professional football team back in August?)

Every person I talk to -- inside and outside Warren's orbit -- is steadfast in their belief that she is not -- and will not be -- running.  "As Senator Warren has said many times, she's not running," said her press secretary, Lacey Rose. "She has spent much of her career fighting against big banks as a strong advocate for financial reform, and her latest efforts have been an extension of that."

I take her team at its word. But, even if that's a done deal in Warren's mind, she'd do well to keep the door open at least a crack for a little while longer. It's always best in politics to keep them guessing.