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If you need of some hard evidence proving that Hillary Clinton is running for President in 2016 — look no further than the Northern Virginia suburb of Falls Church on Saturday, October 19.
There, Hillary Clinton will formally endorse her “good friend,” Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a “Women for Terry” event.
So why is Clinton’s late endorsement of a long-time friend for governor of Virginia a strong indication that she is running for president in 2016?
The answer, to quote Charlie Sheen is “WINNING!”
If Terry McAuliffe can hang on to his current lead of 7.4 percent over his conservative Republican opponent, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, then McAuliffe will be elected Virginia’s next governor on November 5.
Furthermore, McAuliffe’s increasing lead, especially with women, means that Hillary is free to bask in the glow of Terry’s “big mo” — and there is no better place than women voter-rich Northern Virginia. (This same area will also be ground zero for 2016 Hillary-mania.)
How Hillary has dealt with the McAuliffe campaign is proof of her careful, calculating approach to 2016 with emphasis on protecting her “brand image.”
Until very recently, the question as to whether Hillary would publicly endorse Terry McAuliffe was still an open one, even though he was chairman of her 2008 presidential campaign and a major player/chief fundraiser within the Clinton circle for over two decades.
Alternatively, Bill Clinton has been “all in” for his money-man’s gubernatorial campaign, with the former president actively raising millions for McAuliffe. One could say this was pay-back, for according to the Washington Post, during McAuliffe’s career he has raised over $400 million for the Clinton’s various campaigns.
Meanwhile, Hillary’s approach to McAuliffe’s gubernatorial race has been much more measured due to the perceived potential for political damage to her 2016 plans if McAuliffe’s campaign came up short — or if his Clinton association was deemed problematic.
In other words, if Terry McAuliffe lost the Virginia governor’s race would the media be buzzing about how the Clinton brand was vulnerable in an important swing state? After all, for political purposes McAuliffe’s last name might as well be Clinton.
Failure and weakness was a real concern for Hillary. Back on April 2, Politico ran a piece with the headline:
Hillary Clinton’s First Test
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign begins this year in Virginia.
The success or failure of McAuliffe’s campaign is a chance to measure Clinton’s strength and organization in a critical state that now rivals Ohio as the pivotal swing state for winning a presidential election.
Even in early August with the November 5 election only three months away, Hillary was still debating over whether she would take an active role in McAuliffe’s campaign because his lead had not yet been solidified. The Washington Post reported on August 4:
Hillary Clinton is still weighing how actively to support McAuliffe, her advisers said. Will she barnstorm the state with him or appear only at a private fundraiser? Will she appear in television spots, radio ads or robo-calls? Such public moves would immediately return Clinton to a partisan political environment — something she has sought to avoid.
Now, in the campaign’s final weeks, the socially conservative Cuccinelli is falling far behind McAuliffe. This is due to a myriad of factors including turning off women voters.
Politico, in a September 16 piece headlined, Why Ken Cuccinelli is losing the Virginia Governor’s race reported:
But Cuccinelli‘s controversial views on abortion, gay marriage, skepticism of global warming and advocacy for the rights of fathers don’t play well in Northern Virginia, especially with women. He has tried not to emphasize those issues but also not backed away from his stances.
In mid-September when that piece was written, given McAuliffe’s tainted business and political reputation as a crony-capitalist, the race was not yet lost for Cuccinelli — until October brought the government shutdown.
In Virginia, a federal government shutdown is a local household issue directly impacting the economy of the entire state. So nationally as Americans largely blamed Republicans, Virginia voters lashed out at Cuccinelli, thus boosting McAuliffe into his current 7 point lead.
If McAuliffe wins on November 5 by a decisive margin, look for the media to make his victory into a two-part national story.
First, proof positive that the Republican Party’s sinking fortunes are due to the conservative tea-party wing of which Cuccinelli is a poster child, along with predictions of GOP civil war and dire consequences for the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Second, about how the Clinton brand has emerged stronger than ever, paving the way for Hillary in 2016 and further dimming the GOP’s prospects of re-capturing the White House.
Whether the results of the Virginia race can truly be nationalized, the mainstream media will use McAuliffe’s victory as an excuse to bash Republicans and blame them for all or most of government dysfunction.
But what we do know for sure is Hillary Clinton thinks McAuliffe’s victory is a done deal and therefore it is safe for her to use McAuliffe as an excuse to appear before crowds of friendly Virginia voters and big 2016 donors.
Up until this time, Mrs. Clinton had hosted a few private fundraising dinners for McAuliffe in Virginia behind locked doors, but now that he is “WINNING” the coast is clear, the west coast that is.
How else do you explain Hillary hosting a $15,000-per-ticket Hollywood fundraiser for Terry McAuliffe at the Beverly Hills home of media mogul Haim Saban on October 30? Even though there are 2,600 miles between California and Virginia, there is no distance between Hillary 2016 and Hollywood cash.
Obviously this October 30 mega-fundraising event is a convenient for Hillary to engage in some face time with big Hollywood donors in the name of Terry McAuliffe, who has already out-raised Ken Cuccinelli by millions.
Even more fascinating is why Hillary Clinton finally decided to publicly endorse Terry McAuliffe on October 19 at the 11th hour of his campaign, just as he is on the verge of being elected the next governor of Virginia. One could surmise that Hillary thinks the “Clinton brand” is secure enough for her to now come out from behind the curtain.
Whether that late endorsement passes as a example of “Clinton style” friendship there is no doubt Hillary has passed what Politico called the “first test” of her 2016 presidential ambition with conniving calculation — further evidence that the Hillary-train has left the station for its long journey toward 1600 Penn.
And you can count on the infamous Terry McAuliffe to be a Hillary-train lead operator even while living in the Virginia governor’s mansion.
If on November 5 there is an earthquake in Virginia the cause will be former governors Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry throwing tantrums in their graves.