Clinton World Hints at Ditching Old Baggage for Hillary Run

PHOTO: Hillary ClintonPlayCliff Owen/AP Photo
WATCH Hilary Clinton Says She's 'Wrestling' With Decision for Presidential Run

Hillary Clinton's first major print interview since leaving the Obama administration seven months ago leaves two inescapable impressions: She is running in 2016, and this campaign won't look anything like her failed 2008 run.

The former secretary of state's official line in her interview with New York magazine was that she's happily enjoying her unofficial life, even as she casually mulls the prospect of a presidential run.

"I'm not in any hurry," she told the magazine. "I think it's a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it's also not one that has to be made soon."

'I Do' Wrestle With Presidential Run

At the same time, however, her aides suggest in the article, "Hillary in Midair," that a 2016 presidential run is going to feature a more organized, less stodgy Clinton than the candidate who came just shy of the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Clinton, they say, has learned from her mistakes, and will bring a sense of discipline to a presidential run that her 2008 campaign lacked.

The former first lady and New York senator insists that she's in no hurry to make a decision, although Clinton acknowledges that she's seriously mulling a run.

The Unofficial Guide(s) to Hillary Clinton

But according to a few trusty unnamed friends quoted in the article published Sunday, a 2016 presidential run is a done deal.

"She's running, but she doesn't know it yet," said one Clinton-world source who declined to be named in the magazine's cover story.

"She's going to run for president; it's a foregone conclusion," another added.

Clinton's post-State Department life features lots of quality time with her peripatetic husband, she says.

"We get to be at home together a lot more now than we used to in the last few years," Hillary Clinton, 65, told the magazine. "We have a great time; we laugh at our dogs; we watch stupid movies; we take long walks; we go for a swim."

But a few lines later, another aide emphasized the former president's relative absence in Hillary Clinton's professional life during her time at the State Department. A time, by the way, that they view as a model of her management style.

"I could probably count on one hand the times she came to a meeting and either invoked his name or suggested something that Bill had said," Tom Nides, Clinton's hire at the State Department to be deputy secretary of state for management and resources, told the magazine. "I probably did it more about my wife telling me what to do."

Of course, all that harks back to combating the persistent complaints that Bill Clinton's influence helped tank Clinton's 2008 operation.

And for others, the complaints go back even further to Bill Clinton's entire presidency, which many liberals see as a golden age of moderate Democratic politics, but also a series of close calls and scandals that probably could have been avoided.

It's a problem for Hillary Clinton that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd warned in a recent column might not go away.

"The closer [Clinton] gets to running the world once more, the more you are reminded of all the things that bugged you the last time around," Dowd wrote in August.

As her aides tell it, Hillary Clinton is the organized one, determined to learn from the mistakes of her past. And Bill Clinton might be the mastermind politician, but his "loosey-goosey" ways won't influence her 2016 campaign.

"She doesn't operate that way," a former State Department advisor told New York magazine. "I mean, she has all sorts of creative ideas, but that's not how she operates. She is much more systematic."

The Clinton of 2016 will be the Clinton of her selfie-taking Twitter account and of "Texts from Hillary" fame. It will be all about running her empire in a way that, save for the swirling controversy over the deadly Benghazi, Libya, terror attack, is like her time at the State Department: drama free and flying above it all.

A drama-free world might be the aspiration, except, of course, for the drama.

To see why, look no further than the lingering irritation over Clinton's close aide Huma Abedin and her husband, disgraced former N.Y. congressman Anthony Weiner.

Although Weiner's self-destructing New York City mayoral campaign is all-but over, Abedin has been reportedly urged to separate herself from Weiner's unsavory headline-grabbing aura, or leave Clinton's orbit.

"Huma has a choice to make," a close associate of Clinton's told the magazine. "Does she go with Anthony, or does she go with Hillary?"

And a Hillary and Chelsea Clinton takeover of the Clinton Foundation has already unearthed some griping among staffers who are nostalgic for a simpler time when being influential was mostly a function of your proximity to Bill Clinton.

"It's all people jockeying for position," a person with close ties to the foundation told New York magazine. "This is an operation that runs on proximity to people. Now there are three people. How does all that work?"

As if to emphasize the threat of chaos that seems to always hover on the perimeter of Clinton-world, a far less flattering New Republic story was published on the heels of Hillary Clinton's interview with New York, magazine.

The article, "Scandal at Clinton Inc," highlights the oversized role of Doug Band, a former body man to President Bill Clinton, whose constant maneuvering has raised questions about Band's role in creating a transactional, glitzy culture rife with moneyed associates who have come to define Clinton world.

And then there's the managing of the myriad of voices all purporting to speak for the Clintons.

For now, the strategy seems to continue to be: let everyone have their say and if things get out of hand, knock it down. That seems to be the case with the Ready for Hillary super PAC, which formed as an unofficial cheerleading group for a prospective 2016 Clinton campaign.

While some of Hillary Clinton's friends and donors have taken the group into the fold, a Clinton aide, following the aforementioned playbook, stands poised to maintain distance between Hillary Clinton and the group.

"There is nothing they are doing that couldn't have waited a year," a Clinton aide told New York magazine of the super PAC. "Not a single f**king thing."