Hillary Clinton Says She’s Done Being A Candidate For Office

Hillary Clinton delivers the most obvious news ever.


In the first interview in the promotional tour for her new book, Hillary Clinton says that she’s done being a candidate for office:

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Sunday that she will not pursue the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“I am done with being a candidate,” Clinton said on CBS’s “Sunday Morning.”

Clinton — who on Tuesday will release “What Happened,” her memoir of the 2016 campaign — does plan to stay involved in national politics, just not as an “active politician” who may launch a campaign.

“But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake,” she said in an interview with Jane Pauley.

Clinton also was critical of President Trump’s preparedness for the White House.

“We have a reality show that leads to the election of a president. He ends up in the Oval Office. He says, ‘Boy, it’s so much harder than I thought it would be. This is really tough. I had no idea,'” Clinton said. “Well, yeah, because it’s not a show. It’s real. It’s reality, for sure.”

The former Democratic nominee said she has moved on from her 2016 election loss but acknowledged that the sting of defeat has not entirely faded away.

This is hardly groundbreaking news, of course.

With the possible exception of Joe Biden, few people who have lost campaigns for President have managed to make a successful political comeback, and Clinton’s losses in 2008 and 2012 both came in situations where, at least at the start, it seemed as though there was no way she could lose. The situation in 2008 was far different from what happened last year in that Clinton had merely come in a very close second in a race for the Democratic nomination with the candidate who ultimately went on to win the Presidency. In 2016, though, Clinton entered the club of candidates who lost a General Election and did so notwithstanding the fact that, right up until the night before the election, nearly everyone in the country expected her to win handily. With the exception of Thomas Dewey, Adlai Stevenson, and Richard Nixon, nobody in recent American history who has lost a General Election for President has managed to make a significant political comeback of any kind, and none of them have managed to win the nomination of their party again. Additionally, Clinton would be 73 years old in 2020, making it seem unlikely that she would be in the mood to launch another grueling campaign for her party’s nomination and, if she won, a General Election Finally, the ongoing ideological battle inside the Democratic Party seems to be turning decidedly against the center-left position that Clinton represents and the resentment over her treatment of Bernie Sanders during last years primary would likely mean that her reception in the party would not be nearly as rapturous as it was in 2008 and 2016.

We’ll no doubt seem more “news” of this sort as Clinton continues on her book tour, but I doubt any of it will be any more ground breaking or self-revelatory than what we’ve already heard from her. As James Joyner noted in his post last week, Clinton seems more interested in finding other people or institutions to blame for her loss, whether it’s Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, James Comey, or the news media, then she is in truly looking at what went wrong for her during last year’s Presidential campaign. If anyone should be at the top of that list, it is Clinton herself and the people who ran her campaign. They are the ones who made the strategic and tactical decisions that contributed to the loss, specifically including the decision to largely ignore warnings from people on the ground in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, that the polls they were seeing from national pollsters were not showing the reality of what was happening on the ground in those states. This incuded warnings from people such as former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and the candidate’s own husband, Bill Clinton, who alone had more political experience than the entire membership of Clinton’s senior campaign team. Additionally, Clinton continues to seemingly fail to acknowledge the role that her own personal failings, including the damage she did to herself when she set up a private email server in 2009 and the connections between her and the Clinton Foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State played in her defeat. Until that happens, this latest book just strikes me as more of the same self-serving rhertoic we’ve come to expect from her.


FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. CSK says:

    Clinton, it seems to me, has always had the same problem as Gore and Kerry: She’s inauthentic. By that I mean that one can see her desperately trying on and equally desperately discarding different personas in order to find a persona that her audience will like. That was true of Gore and Kerry, who were frantic to establish some alpha male credentials. Remember the moment when Gore strode manfully onto the stage, grabbed Tipper, bent her backward, and stuck his tongue down her throat? Or when John Kerry talked about “gittin’ me a huntin’ license”? I mean…Jay-SUS.

    Reagan was Reagan. Bush was Bush. Bill Clinton was Bill Clinton. Bush was Bush. Obama was Obama. Trump is a boob/boor/charlatan/oaf/cretin/solipsist/buffoon/vulgarian. But what you see is what you get, God help us.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Doug, you haven’t read the book. Almost no one has. There have been a few partial paragraphs leaked. Yet you are confident that she is only interested in blaming others. Why?

  3. reid says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah, I think everyone is keen on only pointing to evidence that backs up the story they want to believe, that she’s just blaming everyone else. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard her also blame herself and her campaign. If she’s going to explain why she thinks she lost the election, why wouldn’t she also bring up things like what Comey did?

    We’re all tired of the Clintons for various reasons. It’s over. The die-hard Trump fans won’t ever stop mentioning them and Obama, but can we?

  4. CSK says:


    Just as a point of information, there are a lot of advance copies and bound galleys of the book floating around out there prior to the official publication date. They’ve been in the hands of reviewers for quite a while.

  5. Jen says:


    That (people commenting on a book they haven’t yet read) is starting to get on my nerves.


    Of course there are reviewer copies and galley copies. And those who have read all 500+ pages are welcome to provide their impressions. But zooming through others’ reviews and finding a few mentions, quoting those without context and then making broad claims (“she’s blaming others!”, etc.) is both totally expected and very annoying.

    I never thought for a moment she’d run again. Now it’s Sanders’ turn to make the same statement, if he can stand not being in the limelight.

  6. Slugger says:

    Furthermore, Ms. Clinton will not be available for the giant slalom in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
    I wish she would allow step off the stage; her moment has passed. I wish that the Democrats would engage in a process to find a suitable candidate for 2020. By this I mean something other than the system that gave us the candidates of 2016. The Democratic Party screwed up bad in 2016, and we now have Trump as President. Analyze the mistakes, figure out solutions, and start looking forward.

  7. James in Bremerton says:

    On the plus side, the book is out, and events assure it will be forgotten by week’s end.

    The U.S. would benefit from leaders of the present millennium.

  8. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    I am done with being a candidate,

    Y’all’ll have to forgive me, but I remember this same person saying something very similar sometime in 2013 or so. I remain unconvinced. Especially because…

    But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake

    The pertinent question at this point becoming what will she do when she discovers (or decides) that the only American available to save the future of the nation has the initials HRC?

    I wish I wasn’t so skeptical, but I been down this road befo’.

  9. wr says:

    @Slugger: “I wish she would allow step off the stage; her moment has passed”

    Hear, hear. Why should we ever have to listen to anyone just because she’s got thirty years experience working for progressive causes? Why should anyone try to learn from what a former senator, secretary of state and first lady has to say about anything? She lost an election, and thus she is completely worthless as a human being, and all her experience means nothing.

    Let us only ever listen to those who are hot in this very moment. No one else has anything to offer us.

  10. Jen says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: If the Democratic party can’t come up with a slate of at least six candidates for president who are age 55 or younger, they are in dire straights anyway. It will prove they have no “bench”–which is totally predictable given the abysmal showing in state-level elections.

    The presidency is an incredibly taxing job, both mentally and physically.

    My hunch is that Secretary Clinton’s focus will be on candidate recruitment and fundraising, where she will do a great job, particularly in certain regions of the country.

    Within the next decade that might include working for another Clinton–Chelsea–because American political dynasties are a thing, even though we say we don’t like them. A fair warning that could, I guess, include a candidate Ivanka sometime in the future too…

  11. MarkedMan says:


    Reagan was Reagan. Bush was Bush. Bill Clinton was Bill Clinton. Bush was Bush. Obama was Obama.

    Read more: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/hillary-clinton-says-shes-done-being-a-candidate-for-office/#ixzz4sOfUP29e

    Oh for crying out loud. Reagan was literally a professional actor. Bush Sr. is maybe the most “authentic” person on this list, but even he had his pork rinds (for the young’uns, during his candidacy/presidency he pretended pork rinds were his favorite snack food because some consultant told him it made him seem more, wait for it, “authentic”), Bill Clinton was… well, just a mess. And Bush Jr was one of the phoniest presidents of my lifetime – remember how he kept going to the ranch to cut brush? Odd that he never goes there any more. And have you ever seen the comparison of the Ivy-leaguer campaigning for governor versus the folksy, down home good ol’ boy running for president? As for Obama, well he was the most personally disciplined, tightly controlled president of my lifetime, someone who never let so much as a tad of emotion show unless he was sure it advanced his cause. And that is a good thing.

    Clinton is not any more or less “authentic” than anyone else who has reached the level of major party presidential nod. She is just not as good at faking “authenticity” as Reagan, Bush Jr, Bill and Obama.

  12. george says:

    I suspect that, given her age, it will ultimately depend upon her health.

    She and her campaign made mistakes (as does every campaign), but in the end what defeated her seems to be the difficulty of a party holding onto the Presidency for three terms (and even so she almost managed something that’d only been accomplished once in the last 60 years. Looking at the data from this election, and comparing it to past elections coming after 2 terms of a party being in power, the most striking thing is how normal the results are. Despite what the wonks were saying, it turns out this really was seen by the majority of potential voters (40% of which didn’t vote at all) as just another election.

    The problem is consistent across time and across nations; after several terms in power your supporters grow less enthusiastic while the opposition retains its supporters because being outside makes you hungry. And then for the undecided you’re seen as owning all the current problems, because your party has been in power for more or less a decade.

    The race wasn’t between Clinton and Trump so much as between ‘in’ and ‘out’ of power – it happens so consistently around the world that its only surprising that anyone is surprised when it happens yet again.

    If her health holds she could run in 2020 or 2024 and win the Presidency, because it’ll be the D’s turn again. However I don’t see any way for her to regain the Democratic candidacy at that age. If she were still 50 I’d bet on her winning.

  13. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: Yup. To repeat what I wrote a few days ago:

    I was watching a recent Bill Maher, and the mostly Democratic panel (including Paul Begala) kept talking about Trump’s “authenticity” compared with Hillary’s. Not one of them noted that it’s hard to think of a political figure LESS authentic than Donald Trump, whose entire public career is built on lies and fraud, who can barely open his mouth without making demonstrably false statements….

    The fact that even Trump’s harshest critics would perceive him as “authentic” reminds me of a line attributed to George Burns: “The secret to acting is sincerity, and if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Hillary, God love her, is very bad at faking sincerity, and that may have been her biggest weakness, her Achilles’ heel.

  14. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jen: Oh gawd. The only thing we need less than a Chelsea or an Ivanka would be a Jenna or a Barbara. Fortunately, I’m old with congenital health conditions, so with any kind of luck at all, I’ve only got about 2 Presidential cycles left. Maybe even fewer (crosses fingers).

  15. Jen says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: Ha. Well, Jenna and Barbara seem to have no interest. But George P. Bush (Jeb’s son) is the current Texas Land Commissioner IIRC. He seems to be on the track. So yeah, potentially another George Bush running for president…at some point.

  16. Jack says:

    Her next book is due in October. It’s titled “What went wrong with What Happened”, and it explains how everyone else is to blame for the poor book sales except Hillary Clinton. You can reserve your copy on Amazon today!

  17. Kylopod says:

    @Jack: Nice job ripping off The Onion from a few days ago, but at least you’re being funny for a change, even if a tad unoriginal.

  18. Jack says:

    @Kylopod: I don’t read the Onion, so…yeah. Good to know you do though. I suspect it’s your major news source.

  19. Kylopod says:


    I don’t read the Onion, so…yeah. Good to know you do though. I suspect it’s your major news source.

    Dude, you’re the guy who thought a piece from a parody site was a real news article. But don’t worry: I believe you when you say you don’t read The Onion; if you did, you’d be quoting it as gospel. You probably got that joke on a Facebook feed or something, because the only way you’d recognize it as a joke is if it began with the words “THE FOLLOWING IS A JOKE…” Otherwise you’d be reporting it to us as if it really happened, just like last time.

  20. gVOR08 says:


    Bush Sr. is maybe the most “authentic” person on this list,

    I am frequently reminded of reading an article years ago about HW Bush. The upshot was that he saw governing in DC and campaigning in Houston as two distinct, and totally unrelated things. He would go to Houston and tell his supporters whatever would make them happy. Then he would go to DC and do whatever he thought best, seeing no connection with anything he had said in Houston.

    Modern media doesn’t allow that trick, but it hardly makes him authentic.

    Also “voodoo economics”, his term for Reagan’s spply side BS. BS he wholeheartedly supported when he lost and became Reagan’s minion.

    That said, I do give him credit for raising taxes when it became necessary, despite his “read my lips” pledge to not do so.

  21. Kylopod says:


    Also “voodoo economics”, his term for Reagan’s spply side BS. BS he wholeheartedly supported when he lost and became Reagan’s minion.

    Agreed. It wasn’t just voodoo economics and pork rinds. In his 1980 campaign he ran as a full-fledged moderate–anti-supply-side, pro-choice, pro-Equal Rights Amendment. After joining Reagan’s team he rapidly dropped all those positions, and when running again in 1988 he basically remade himself, Romney-style, into a hardcore conservative. And who can forget Willie Horton? I still find that pretty unforgivable. And unlike Lee Atwater, correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think he ever apologized for this despicable bit of racial demagoguery.

    Don’t get me wrong–I like the guy. Always have. And while he wasn’t the greatest president in the world he was light years above either of the two Republicans who followed him. The thing he became most notorious for within his own party–his tax increase–was actually VERY justifiable from a policy perspective, even though it violated his own (stupid) campaign pledge. He paid the price for it because his own party went off the deep end, transforming itself from a true fiscally conservative party to an extremist anti-tax party.

    Still, it seems when we talk about “authenticity,” we’re putting a bit of nostalgia on politicians of the past who were just as prone to phoniness and cynical positioning as the ones we lash out at today. It’s true that H.W. never had the gratingly plastic feel of a Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton, but I’m not sure he didn’t flip flop or pander just as much. In the pre-Internet age where we didn’t have constant access to a politician’s every words it was easy to overlook these things.