Hillary Clinton Returns to Iowa Amid Speculation Over 2016 Bid

The former first Lady, Hillary Clinton returned to Iowa to participate in yearly steak fry fundraiser for Senator Tom Harkin. It is her first public appearance since her third-place finish during the unsuccessful 2008 elections.

Hillary Rodham Clinton with her husband Bill Clinton and  retiring Sen. Tom Harkin at annual steak fry fundraiser in Indianola on Sept. 14. Photo: Renars Petersons/Flickr

Hillary Rodham Clinton with her husband Bill Clinton and retiring Sen. Tom Harkin at annual steak fry fundraiser in Indianola on Sept. 14. Photo: Renars Petersons/Flickr

Hillary Clinton made the first public appearance after her defeat by Barack Obama during the disappointing presidential campaign in 2008. Mrs. Clinton attended on Sunday annual steak fry fundraiser in Iowa together with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to show support to their friends Senator Tom Harkin, who is retiring after thirty years in the Senate.

“Hello Iowa. I’m back!” declared the former secretary of state as she took the podium at Harkin’s steak fry, a fixture on the political calendar in the home of the nation’s first presidential caucus. It was 37th such event, which attracted around 7,000 Democrats.

“Now when Tom Harkin called and asked me to come, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to say,” she said. “I’ve got a few things on my mind these days. First, and most importantly, Bill and I are on constant grandchild watch. I’m calling Chelsea every 5 minutes to make sure things are going alright.”

But it was not just it, as the former First Lady hinted that she’s “thinking about” potential campaign to run for the office, but joked then she was “here for the steak.”

She offered another hint at the end of the 20-minute speech, emphasizing why Democrats must vote in non-presidential years.

“Too many people only get excited about presidential campaigns. Look, I get excited about presidential campaigns too,” she said, to more applause. “But those campaigns only happen every four years. … So use the enthusiasm that Iowa is so well known for every presidential year and channel that into these upcoming elections.”

Meanwhile, the largest Democratic fundraising group, Priorities USA, which helped get President Barack Obama elected, recently rebranded itself as a vehicle to help Clinton. Publicly, the group says it is focused on raising money for Democrats for this fall’s congressional elections, but privately, Priorities has already started reaching out to donors to secure 2016 commitments for Clinton.

Hillary Clinton’s speech was markedly different from the ones she generally gives on the paid speaking circuit. She largely focused public’s attention on difference between the two parties and importance of helping Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, and praised Iowa’s democratic candidates, gubernatorial challenger Jack Hatch and Senate hopeful Bruce Braley.

“Now, think about it, in just 50 days, Iowans have a choice to make,” she said. “A choice between the guardians of gridlock and the champions of shared opportunity and shared prosperity. A chance to elect leaders who will carry on Tom Harkin’s legacy of fighting for hard working families.”

The former president also gave speech beginning with a vow that he would “really … try to be a little briefer” than the other speakers, and paid tribute to Harkin and the Iowa candidates running this fall, but he just couldn’t make it short, and eventually it took him about 20 minutes.

He made a plea for voters to elect leaders who consider alternative points of view and people with different experiences and backgrounds, casting it in terms of a moment that he said is “the most interdependent age in human history.”

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