After a period out of the spotlight, Bill and Hillary Clinton are trying to make a triumphant return to the front ranks of the Democratic party, according to a new report.
Several people close to the former first couple tell Politico that the Clintons see divisions between moderates and progressives over key pieces of President Biden’s agenda as an opening to reassert their brand as dealmakers.
“It’s a perpetual itch that will never go away,” one insider told the outlet. “They know how to slowly reenter. The Clintons want to reset the board in their favor and then move the pieces.”
In recent weeks, according to Politico, the 42nd president has spoken to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to press the lawmaker over his support for keeping the Senate’s 60-vote legislative filibuster and his opposition to Biden’s nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill.
The report added that Clinton has also pushed Biden to salvage his social spending plan by working with Manchin on provisions the West Virginian wants in the bill.
“I told Joe, ‘Break it up, pick one or two [pieces] you can swallow and then run on the rest,’” Clinton said of their conversation, according to a person familiar with the call.
The former president has also reportedly spoken with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) – who on Thursday promised to vote against eliminating the filibuster, warning it would create further division.
One person familiar with the conversation told Politico that after the call, Clinton said, “I don’t know her, but I like her.”
One long-time Clinton bundler put forward an offbeat explanation for the former president’s growing activity: the low ratings and limited public reaction to FX’s “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” which was produced by Monica Lewinsky and premiered this past September. The former president faced a flurry of #MeToo-induced backlash over his sexual relationship with the then-White House intern, but that appears to have died down.
Meanwhile, Politico reported that the Clintons are also considering resurrecting the much-scrutinized Clinton Global Initiative’s annual conference, which was last held in 2016 due to conflict-of-interest questions surrounding Hillary’s presidential run. The event was succeeded the following year by the Bloomberg Global Business Forum.
As for Hillary Clinton, the bundler described her to Politico as “bored” and seemingly eager to get back into the political fight.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by political consultant Doug Schoen and former Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein suggesting that the 2016 presidential nominee was well-placed to make a third run for the Democratic nomination in 2024.
While the former secretary of state reportedly has no desire to seek the White House again, two people told Politico Hillary was gauging reaction to the op-ed to plan out possible campaign appearances for Democratic midterm candidates or renewed engagement in policy battles.
“It’s less about being kingmakers,” the bundler said, “and more about being relevant and people seeing them as a net positive, not a net negative.”