Hillary Clinton is about to generate a huge amount of presidential buzz when she goes on an extensive trip to strongly Democratic California in April.
The former secretary of state is scheduled to give speeches in San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego, according to CNN. And her trip has set off speculation that it will bring her a step closer to starting a widely anticipated run for the White House in 2016 by allowing her to road-test some campaign themes and assess reaction from the public and potential donors in a key primary state.
Among her appearances will be a speech at the Marketing Nation Summit, a gathering of the marketing industry, April 9 in San Francisco; participation in a Unique Lives & Experiences lecture series April 10 at San Jose State University; and a speech at a health care conference April 11 in San Diego.
Clinton, who is also a former first lady and former U.S. senator from New York, is considered likely to enter the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination at some point. But her friends and advisers tell me she believes she has many months to make a decision.
Ready for Hillary, a political action committee, is holding events, compiling lists of supporters and potential campaign workers, and raising money in case she decides to run. A spokeswoman said the PAC has raised $4 million during the past year. The PAC is not coordinating its activities with Clinton, the group's leaders say. That would be against the law.
But an anti-Clinton group called the Stop Hillary PAC filed a complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission against Clinton and the Ready for Hillary PAC. The complaint alleges that the pro-Clinton group isn't really independent and is violating the law by coordinating with her.
Clinton ran for president in 2008 and was widely considered the favorite, but she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, who was then a U.S. senator from Illinois.
She is leading in the polls again now. The latest Quinnipiac survey finds that 65 percent of Democrats back Clinton's nomination, followed by Vice President Joe Biden with 8 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 7 percent.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook and Twitter.