The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 14, 2013

Hillary finding her arena

PHILADELPHIA — If you’re still wondering — despite the coy tweets, the impending avalanche of speeches, the assiduous fundraising for the renamed Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation — whether Hillary Clinton is running for president, consider her reference Tuesday night to Teddy Roosevelt’s man in the arena.

Roosevelt disdained critics and carpers. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,” Roosevelt proclaimed, “who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Hillary Clinton is the ultimate woman in the arena. Countless adjectives have been used to describe her. Timid is not among them.

Sure, this was the fallback speech, anodyne exhortations to active citizenship, after the mess in Syria and the president’s scheduling of an address to the nation made the original plan for high-minded policy thoughts on national security and the Constitution too dicey. When in doubt, summon Teddy.

But for Clinton, the arena is a constant, irresistible lure. When she announced plans to step down as secretary of state after 20 years of balancing “on the highest tightrope of American and global politics,” as she told People magazine, Clinton said her immediate plans concerned catching up “on mundane things like sleep and cleaning closets.”

That didn’t last long. The ceremony celebrating Clinton’s receipt of the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center here was studded with references to her inevitable candidacy — including from a potential GOP rival, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and National Constitution Center chairman.

“Hillary and I come from different political parties, and we disagree about a few things, but we do agree on the wisdom of the American people — especially those in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina,” Bush said.

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