Last night, the woman most likely to be the first female president to occupy the Oval Office, Hillary Rodham Clinton, did not announce that she is running for president. And, she didn't touch on her use of personal email during her time as Secretary of State. She did, however, give a rousing speech at the Emily's List 30th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C. (Emily's List is a political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office at all levels of government.) And, she also gave a pretty big hint as she closed her speech: "Don’t you suppose that one day, you’ll want to see a woman run for president?” Hint hint.
The event couldn't have been a more pro-Hillary environment, so it definitely felt like the right occasion for this type of rhetoric. Nearly every one of the 13-plus speakers who preceded Clinton — including America Ferrara, Gabby Giffords, Nancy Pelosi, Lena Dunham, and Al Franken — practically begged the former Secretary of State and United States Senator to finally step up and declare her candidacy. She didn't quite do that, but Clinton did do her usual opening teaser, as she has been at every appearance, beginning her speech by referring to a "national question that has been gripping the nation" — which turned out to be a joking reference to the great "Is It Blue and Black or White and Gold?" Dress Debate of 2015. The rest of her remarks were a well-articulated, values-based campaign speech (minus the campaign) reiterating her support for collective bargaining, a woman's right to choose, full participation in the economy, and knowing "when it's time to find common ground, and when it's time to stand your ground." She also took the time to give praise to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who announced her retirement yesterday. Elected to the House in 1976, Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in Congress. Among her achievements was changing the House rules to allow women to wear pants on the floor of the Senate, which Clinton connected to her own famous pantsuits (last night's was purple). This gave the maybe-candidate the perfect segue into the provocative end to her speech: "Don't you want to see more women running for governor and mayor who will put our families first? More women running for Congress who will follow in the footsteps of Barbara Mikulski? And, I supposed it's fair to say that don't you suppose that one day, you'll want to see a woman run for president?" Indeed we do. And, the latest rumors are that Clinton will declare in April — and then the 2016 race will truly begin.