Inside the Beltway: Hillary Clinton evolving

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The newly configured Hillary Rodham Clinton may not be playing so well in Peoria. And elsewhere. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state has become a polished, confident public entity in recent days, joyous in demeanor and freshly coiffed — as opposed to her “what difference at this point does it make?” meltdown moment before Congress over Benghazi. That was a mere six months ago, incidentally.

But alas.

“Hillary Clinton’s public image has slumped in recent months, with younger voters, Democrats and independents taking a less enthusiastic view of her,” says Peter Nicholas, a Wall Street Journal political analyst who provides evidence of same in a new joint poll from his news organization and NBC News.

“Overall, 46 percent registered a positive view of the ex-secretary of state, compared to 33 percent who expressed a negative opinion. As recently as April, 56 percent saw Mrs. Clinton in a positive light,” Mr. Nicholas says.

Why the drop? Looks like a change in political climate. Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who provided advice for the survey, explains, “pure and simple, she’s gone from being the nonpartisan secretary of state to potentially a partisan Democratic nominee for president.”

Rolling Thunder founder Artie Muller is in Washington this weekend for the group's annual convention, plus a policy-heavy visit to Capitol Hill to address POW/MIA issues and veterans affairs with lawmakers. (The Washington Times)

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Rolling Thunder founder Artie Muller is in Washington this weekend for the ... more >

Campaign posturing runs like clockwork, though.

Mrs. Clinton continues to make significant speeches. In six months, she will issue yet another memoir, scheduled for bookshelves on June 1 from publishing giant Simon & Schuster. It does not have a title yet. But, hey, what difference at this point does it make? The book is already available for preorders, and most certainly has an agenda, showcasing her candid reflections and “thoughts about how to navigate the challenges of the 21st century,” the publisher says.

EVERYBODY DOES IT?

Do allies and enemies alike “spy” on U.S. leaders? Voters themselves appear to agree that clandestine activities are a reality of life these days for those at the highest echelons of power, according to a wide ranging new survey. A few of the many numbers:

50 percent of registered U.S. voters say the United Kingdom “probably or definitely” spies on American leadership.

59 percent say the same of Germany and 58 percent for France; 79 percent say the same about Iran; 80 percent say the same for China as well as Russia.

30 percent of the respondents felt that world leaders were “truly angry” over revelations that the National Security Agency had targeted their private cellphone conversations; 28 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats agree with this.

20 percent said they were vexed that leaders were “posturing for the media”; 28 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent said the leaders were doing both of these things; 33 percent of GOPers and 37 percent of the Dems agree.

But manners still matter. Overall, 53 percent say President Obama should apologize for the phone incidents; 52 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

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