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   The Once and Future Hillary Clinton

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11/5/2008 7:00 am

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TIME Magazine

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Entered 11/9/2008, Updated 11/9/2008

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What becomes now of Hillary Clinton? Will she run again for President? Make a bid for Senate majority leader? Go home to New York and run for governor? Does she covet a job in Barack Obama's Cabinet or maybe an appointment to the Supreme Court? No, no, no and no, come the answers. As she told me recently, "I'm going to be focused, as I always have been, on what we're going to get done. I'm not interested in just enhancing my visibility. I'm interested in standing on the South Lawn of the White House and seeing President Obama signing into law quality, affordable health care for everybody, and voting in a big majority for clean, renewable energy and smarter economic policies. That's what I'm all about, and I'm going to use every tool at my disposal to bring it about." But it's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton ever playing just a supporting role. She is now both a smaller and a larger figure than when she set out on her first presidential-campaign swing through frigid Iowa nearly two years ago. And that puts her at something of a crossroads. "She's not who she was before she ran, when everyone deferred to her as a former First Lady and a President-in-waiting," says a prominent Democratic strategist. While she didn't achieve the Clinton Restoration, Hillary emerged from that race as the symbol of a movement that has come to represent the hopes and frustrations of millions of working-class Democrats. Looking back on what she accomplished in the primaries, Clinton said, "I really felt like people were responding to my campaign in large measure because they feel invisible, that they have just been overlooked and marginalized in ways that undermine their hopes for the future and their capacity to realize their own dreams." And, her advisers note, there is another constituency for whom there is no more obvious leader. Female voters, says a close ally, are an "awakened group of women who have no logical leader. It's hers for the asking."


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