10 times Hillary Clinton was asked about running for president
Today, the photo seems bizarre: Hillary and Bill Clinton smiling and arm-in-arm with Donald and Melania Trump.
The 2005 photo from the Trump wedding prompted CNN’s Jake Tapper to ask Clinton this question:
"Did you ever picture that you would be in this situation, with him as the presumptive Republican nominee, you as the likely Democratic nominee, running against each other in what is likely to be a very brutal and tough campaign?"
"Well, look, back then, I didn't think I would run for president," Clinton said.
Really? We were dubious.
According to Saturday Night Live, Clinton has pictured herself in the Oval Office since she was in the womb; see SNL’s fake sonogram to the left.
We can’t know what’s in Clinton’s mind, so we won’t rate this on the Truth-O-Meter. But we wondered what Clinton has said over the years about running for president and when she really decided to go for it.
As we read through news reports from the past 25 years, we saw that Clinton has been asked about running as long as she has been on the national stage. But she’s always been tight-lipped on whether she would run for office, president or otherwise, until she was actually in the race.
Here are 10 notable examples of people popping the question over the years, until she finally said "yes" in 2007.
1. March 1992 - "If you vote for him, you get me."
Back during Bill Clinton’s first presidential primary, Hillary stumped for him on the campaign trail. She was such a skilled campaigner that voters often asked Clinton why she wasn’t running instead, according to Washington Post reports from the time. Her standard response was: "If you vote for him, you get me."
2. May 1994 - "I want to be president! There, my secret is out."
A New Yorker article quoted a close Clinton adviser saying "There are a great many people talking very seriously about her succeeding him." But the adviser said she was misquoted, and Bill Clinton said in the same article, "She’d be great at it. But I don’t think she’d ever run — not in a hundred years!"
Following the New Yorker article, a reporter at a news roundtable asked Clinton directly if she would run for president.
"Well, the real reason I wanted you all to come here today is that I felt you were the four women of record, the ones who could really carry the message. I didn't tell the New York Times today, but I'm telling you. I want to be president! There, my secret is out," she said with sarcasm, as reported by Newsday. "It's just so absurd."
3. September 1995 - "Reporters are the same the world over."
First Lady Clinton visited Mongolia, on the way home from China, where she delivered her now famous "Women's Rights Are Human Rights" speech. In Mongolia, a local reporter asked her if she would run for president when Bill’s term ended. "Reporters are the same the world over," she replied, laughing, according to the New York Times. "It must be something in the water."
Without answering the question, she changed the subject.
4. January 1996 - "Not in this lifetime."
Clinton said she felt that being a citizen advocate was just as important to democracy as serving in an elected position, when asked by an NPR reporter if she would consider ever running for office. "So, it's not anything I've ever, you know, seriously considered."
In the same month, on the campaign trail for her husband’s re-election she told a supporter no, she would not run for president, "not in this lifetime," according to the New York Times.
5. April 2000 - "I owe it to the people of New York."
In 2000, Clinton ran to fill the open New York Senate seat. Some who opposed her candidacy said she was only using the Senate as a stepping stone for a 2004 presidential campaign. On the trail, she said she would not run in 2004.
''I am going to serve my six-year term as senator,'' she said, according to the New York Times. ''I owe it to the people of New York. I want to help make things happen in the state. That's what motivates me.''
6. September 2003 - "Freedom of speech, I guess."
Emails urging then-Sen. Clinton to run for president appearing on the now defunct website, friendsofhillary.com, fueled speculation that she would run in 2004 — even though she repeatedly said, "I am absolutely ruling it out," the Associated Press reported.
Her staff eventually removed the emails, but the New York Post reported that when asked why she kept letting her staff post them in first place, Clinton said, "Freedom of speech, I guess."
7. August 2004 - "You know, in 2008, I hope…"
Now that it was officially too late for Clinton to run in 2004, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Clinton about her plans for the next election cycle. ''You know, in 2008, I hope I'm going to be working for the re-election of John Kerry and John Edwards,'' she responded.
8. June 2005 - "She'll have a decision to make."
Throughout 2005, Bill Clinton dropped hints that Hillary at the very least had not ruled out running for president in 2008. "I am quite confident that she has not decided to do that," Bill Clinton told NBC. "Or if she has, she hasn't told me."
In September, he wouldn’t promise that Clinton would serve out a second Senate term in full, leaving much room for speculation that she would run in 2008. "She's got to go through a big (Senate) campaign, and then she'll have a decision to make — like probably a dozen other Democrats," he said on Meet the Press.
9. December 2006 - "Obviously I'm looking at it."
Just a few weeks after Clinton won her Senate re-election bid, it seemed, to reporter Meredith Vieira, "like a perfect opportunity for you, Senator, to tell us whether you've made a decision" about the 2008 race.
"Well, this is an intensely personal decision," Clinton replied. "You know, I'm very honored that people are urging me to run and saying they want to sign up, and yet, at the end of the day, I want to be sure that my decision is right for me, for my family, for my party, for my country."
Vieira followed up, "Are you leaning one way or another?
"Well, you know, obviously I'm looking at it," Clinton responded. "I wouldn't be looking at it if I were totally uninterested."
10. January 2007 - "I’m in."
Almost a month to the day after her interview with Meredith Vieira, Clinton announced her candidacy, saying, "I'm in. And I'm in to win. Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president."