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hillary clinton 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to Iowa on September 14 to pay tribute to the state’s retiring Democratic Senator Tom Harkin as anticipation builds over the possibility of another presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were to headline Senator Tom Harkin‘s annual steak fry fundraiser in rural Indianola.

The event was expected to draw more than 5,000 party activists who form the backbone of Iowa’s presidential campaigns every four years.

Following a summertime book tour, Hillary Clinton was making her biggest campaign splash in 2014 so far, opening a fall of fundraising and campaigning for Democrats who are trying to maintain a Senate majority during President Barack Obama’s final two years. The event was serving as a farewell for Harkin, a liberal stalwart and former presidential candidate who is retiring after four decades in Congress.

Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the state’s leadoff presidential caucuses in January 2008, and the former secretary of state has not returned since. Iowa Democrats said Clinton remained widely popular and predicted she would receive broad support if she chooses to run again.

“Barack Obama was a phenomenon. He just was. I’ll give him credit, he worked hard in Iowa, but so did she,” Tom Harkin said, when asked whether Hillary Clinton would do things differently in the state if she runs in 2016.

On Sunday, party activists streamed onto a hot-air balloon field lined with colorful signs thanking the Harkins and promoting state candidates like Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate.

Hillary and Bill Clinton were to headline Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry fundraiser in rural Indianola

Hillary and Bill Clinton were to headline Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry fundraiser in rural Indianola

Ready for Hillary, a super PAC supporting a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy, posted light blue “Ready” signs to promote the main speaker. On stage sat a quintessential Iowa tableau: bales of hay, an American flag and two tractors parked in the surrounding field.

“I honestly believe she will be the next president,” said Cindy Sturtz, a union member from Fort Dodge, who caucused for Barack Obama in 2008 but says she plans to support Hillary Clinton if she runs again.

The Clintons’ arrival offered the possibility of a fresh start for the former New York senator and first lady, whose campaign stumbled in the months leading to the caucuses.

Anti-war activists opposed her vote to authorize the Iraq war in 2002 and coalesced around Barack Obama, who had opposed the war as an Illinois state senator. Hillary Clinton was often insulated by a large entourage in a state where face-to-face politics has long been a campaign hallmark.

Hillary Clinton, who has conferred with Iowa Democrats in recent days, would enter a presidential campaign with a large advantage over potential rivals. Early polls have shown her leading other Democrats by wide margins, including Vice President Joe Biden and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

Joe Biden is traveling to Des Moines next week and has not closed the possibility of another campaign while Martin O’Malley has made several visits to the state and dispatched staffers to Iowa this fall.

Tom Harkin’s final steak fry was expected to be the largest since Hillary Clinton’s last appearance in 2007, when she was joined by Barack Obama, Joe Biden and other Democrats running for president. Bill Clinton has appeared at the event three previous times.

Hillary Clinton has said she expects to decide on another campaign in January 2015.

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Former U.S. Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she won’t make a decision about a 2016 presidential bid before the end of 2014.

On September 5, Hillary Clinton said she will decide whether to run for presidency around the beginning of 2015.

“I do have a unique vantage point and set of experiences about what makes the United States operate well and what doesn’t and what a president can do and should be doing,” she said.

“So I am going to be making a decision around, probably after the first of the year, about whether I’m going to run again or not.”

Hillary Clinton, 66, first ran for president in 2008, but she was defeated in the Democratic primary by then-Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill.

She was asked about her intentions for the next presidential cycle on September 5 at an event in Mexico City honoring thousands of scholarship students supported by the Telmex Foundation, one of several charitable organizations under the umbrella of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Hillary Clinton won't make a decision about a 2016 presidential bid before the end of 2014

Hillary Clinton won’t make a decision about a 2016 presidential bid before the end of 2014

Hillary Clinton would only speak “hypothetically” about a possible presidential bid. She added she would have to have a clear vision of what she wants to achieve, and as well as how she would lead politically to realize that vision.

“I think the most important question anybody should ask who’s thinking about it is not whether you’re going to run or whether you’re going to win – it is what’s your vision for the country and can you lead us there?” she explained.

“And I will have to be convinced that I have a very clear vision with an agenda of what I think needs to be done, and that I have the experience and know-how to lead – not just those who agree with me, but those who disagree with me, to try to achieve those goals. It’s a very serious undertaking, so obviously I’m thinking about it, but I have not made a decision yet.”

Polls have shown Hillary Clinton all but running away with the Democratic nomination and performing strongly against most of her GOP challengers, though her lead in general election polls has recently diminished, according to some surveys.

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