Instead of offering a sincere mea culpa for her many campaign-era errors, Hillary Clinton has issued a litany excuses for her stunning defeat to President Trump. And though Clinton has continued to weigh in on US affairs - to the consternation of Democrats like comedian Bill Maher, who once said it would be best for the country and the party if she would just "stay in the woods" - with 2020 just around the corner, some of the same Democratic presidential hopefuls who once warned her to keep her distance have apparently found value in consulting one of the least successful candidates in modern US political history and even lobbying for her endorsement.
Axios and CNN reported Friday that Hillary Clinton has been taking meetings with Democrats planning to launch bids for the 2020 nomination as candidates seek to get a jump on what's expected to be a crowded field by securing what CNN described as a crucial endorsement.
Citing several sources close to the Clintons, both outlets reported that Clinton has taken meetings with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who recently got out ahead of her rivals by forming an exploratory committee, considered the first step toward launching a campaign), Sen. Cory Booker, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to a longtime Clinton confidant.
According to Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, the meetings have been going on "for months" and that Clinton will "talk with any Democrat who wants to talk" (after all, it must be nice to feel relevant again).
"I won't comment on private discussions she's had except to say that she's more than happy to talk to anyone considering a run about the challenges (as well as the great things) that go with it, and lessons learned on what to watch for in this next cycle (aside from Vladimir)," Merrill said.
Amusingly, CNN notes that the meetings are a sign that Democratic contenders "see value" in a Clinton endorsement, as if that should come as a surprise (presumably because, after her stunning defeat at the hands of President Trump, most assumed that the Clinton brand had been forever tarnished).
The meetings with Clinton are a sign that potential Democratic presidential candidates see value in her endorsement. Clinton maintains a devoted group of supporters around the country (she won over 65 million votes just two years ago) and a strong fundraising network.
The sources close to Clinton tell CNN that the five Democrats she has met with and others waiting for a meeting are asking for her support if they run.
Still, CNN reported that Clinton is widely expected to sit out the primary and only lend her backing to the eventual nominee.
With most polls listing Joe Biden as the front-runner for the nomination should he decide to run, anyone hoping to pose a serious challenge to the former VP would probably find the most value in her endorsement. But for whoever is running, the crown jewel of endorsements is still former President Barack Obama, who has indicated that he'd like to step back and play only a limited role in the upcoming presidential contest.
But ultimately, the quest to seek Clinton's endorsement could ultimately prove futile if the former Secretary of State (and two-time loser) decides to give her lifelong quest for the presidency another shot and enter the race herself, as two of her closest advisors have publicly urged her to do.