Hillary Clinton | REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Updated: July 3, 2014 6:13AM
The Hillary Clinton bandwagon pulls into Chicago next week as the former first lady-turned-author-turned-U.S. Senator-turned-Secretary of State-turned author again — and now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — launches her latest adventure in self-promotion.
Clinton’s book signing and speech confab June 10-11 is already blowing out of the headlines. It will be the first stop to push her new memoir, “Hard Choices.”
To say she will arrive with a head of steam is an understatement.
Clinton’s got major game. And the world is waiting for her to get into the game — the 2016 presidential campaign.
There is no better place to puff up her prospects. Chicago is a Clinton kind of town. She grew up in the area, her childhood friends still beckon. The husband accepted his second presidential nomination at a United Center podium. Chicago is the bluest of cities in a blue state. Her old White House ally, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will roll out the “blue” carpet.
That’s plenty of insurance for a successful book launch. Not that she needs it. “Hard Choices” reportedly has already “pre-sold” 1 million copies.
Still in politics, you can never have too much insurance. Back in 2008, Clinton was also the “presumed nominee” until a little-known state senator emerged from her own hometown. The rest made history.
On June 11, Clinton will be “interviewed” by Emanuel at an event hosted by Ideas Week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
It’s supposed to be a “conversation,” Sweet wrote, with remarks by Clinton, “followed by Emanuel hosting a question-and-answer session that will include taking questions from the audience.”
Given the mayor’s penchant for iron-clad orchestration, expect softball questions and pre-fabricated jokes.
Only one question matters: Will she run?
The book tour is the preamble to a full-blown campaign that could kick off next year. It will hype her standing, stir presidential speculation and soften her image.
If she runs, it’s all over. No other Democrat can step into those sky-high heels. Clinton is supremely qualified. The media is captivated by the possibility. GOP operative Karl Rove is so terrified of her potential run that he is resorting to ridiculous insinuations about her health.
Should Clinton demur, there are a few players desperately waiting, hoping in the wings. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been hankering after a run for years.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts could angle from the left. While she has repeatedly said “no” to 2016, she is — guess what — out on the hustings on her own book tour.
Will Clinton run? No one wants to know more than our mayor. He has aggressively pledged his support and is raising big-time bucks for her.
If, by some remote chance, Clinton takes a pass, expect Emanuel to be in the mix in 2016. My East Coast friends scoff at the possibility. They don’t know Rahm like we know Rahm.
In Chicago, they root for Hillary Clinton. No “hard choice’’ there.
Should she decline, many Democrats here would root even harder for another aspirant. Emanuel’s plentiful critics would cheer at a Rahm Run for the White House.
Anything to get him out of town.