- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2015

Undaunted by an email scandal and congressional investigation, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton exuded wholehearted confidence Monday that she’ll win the White House as she publicly mused about hires for her administration.

Speaking at a policy roundtable at a liberal Washington think tank, Mrs. Clinton hinted at a future job offer for Compton, California, Mayor Aja Brown.

“Don’t be surprised if you get a call,” Mrs. Clinton said after praising the Democratic mayor’s anti-gang programs.

“Maybe we’ll start not too far from here in a beautiful domed building, where we’ll get everybody in the same room and start that conversation,” continued Mrs. Clinton. “It could lead to collaboration and better results for our cities and our country.”

The remarks provoked laughs from the friendly crowd at the Center for American Progress. But Mrs. Clinton wasn’t joking about her self-assurance and unabashed determination to win the presidency in 2016.

The event marked the beginning of a new phase in Mrs. Clinton’s quest for the White House. She has ended two years of high-priced speaking gigs while she mostly kept out of the headlines since stepping down as secretary of state.

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton’s top aides also used private email: report

The days are over for her to lay the groundwork for a presidential run, although last year’s book tour was marred by multiple gaffes — she remarked about how “dead broke” she and former President Bill Clinton were in 2001, had a testy interview with National Public Radio and was defended by Mr. Clinton’s saying the two regularly took weekend trips to grocery stores to meet “regular people.”

Mrs. Clinton soon will officially announce her campaign, with little more than token opposition currently standing between her and the Democratic nomination.

Mrs. Clinton holds a commanding lead over every potential challenger for the Democratic nomination, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

She leads in theoretical match-ups against every potential Republican contender as well. In a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, Mrs. Clinton topped former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 15 points and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who announced his candidacy Monday, by 11 points.

At the policy roundtable, which focused on urban economics, Mrs. Clinton slipped into campaign mode, carefully reciting Democratic catch phrases such as “social mobility,” “income inequality” and “wage stagnation.”

“One of the biggest issues we face is income inequality combined with wage stagnation. They really go hand in hand,” she said. “We don’t have enough good jobs. We don’t have people being placed into those jobs. We don’t have enough social mobility.”

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton ordered to turn over email server by House Benghazi committee

“A lot of our cities truly are divided,” she said. “They have a lot of inequality that has only gotten worse. They have some of the most dynamic, well educated and affluent people in the world and people who are trapped in generational poverty and whose skills are not keeping up with what the jobs of today and tomorrow demand.”

Mrs. Clinton also checked off policy positions from a liberal to-do list. She called for universal pre-kindergarten and gave a shout out to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal champion for the pre-K cause.

Still, Mrs. Clinton has faced sharp criticism for exclusively using a private email account and a private server in her home for conducting official business while serving as Secretary of State.

The unorthodox practice has shielded her official communications from Public Information Act requests and from attempts by Congress to access those documents, likely violating federal records-keeping laws.

A House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks and the administration’s response formally requested Friday that Mrs. Clinton turn her email server over to an independent third party so it can be scrutinized to determine whether she and the Obama administration complied with the law.

The email flap and revelations that the Clinton Global Initiative accepted foreign donations during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as America’s top diplomat have fueled speculation that Mrs. Clinton’s presidential ambitions could be imperiled.

Mrs. Clinton has shrugged off the criticism. A Boston Globe editorial board joined the chorus that has called for liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, to enter the presidential race and give Mrs. Clinton come stiff competition.

“Fairly or not, many Americans already view Clinton skeptically, and waltzing to the nomination may actually hurt her in the November election against the Republican nominee,” said the editorial in Monday’s newspaper.

The editorial board slammed Mrs. Clinton for lacking “gumption” to tackle Wall Street reforms and the country’s deep-seeded economic problems.

“Warren’s dedication is obvious to anyone who watched her raise funds by rallying thousands of grass-roots supporters in her 2012 Senate campaign. She should not shrink from the chance to set the course for the Democratic Party or cede that task to Hillary Clinton without a fight,” they wrote.

Mrs. Warren, who is considered the most potent challenger for the party’s nomination, so far has rebuffed liberal activists’ persistent calls that she run.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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