The Cable

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‘Ready for Hillary’ holds first public rally

The campaign to convince Hillary Clinton to campaign for the presidency began in earnest Tuesday afternoon with a small public rally outside the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. About two dozen George Washington University undergrads assembled outside the venue where Clinton would speak a couple hours later at the Vital Voices gala event, which also ...

Josh Rogin/Foreign Policy
Josh Rogin/Foreign Policy
Josh Rogin/Foreign Policy

The campaign to convince Hillary Clinton to campaign for the presidency began in earnest Tuesday afternoon with a small public rally outside the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

About two dozen George Washington University undergrads assembled outside the venue where Clinton would speak a couple hours later at the Vital Voices gala event, which also featured Vice President Joe Biden.  They cheered and held signs reading "Ready for Hillary 2016" and "Power To The Pantsuit," a reference to Clinton's signature wardrobe choice. After a few cheers and short speeches, the crowd dispersed, their point made.

The campaign to convince Hillary Clinton to campaign for the presidency began in earnest Tuesday afternoon with a small public rally outside the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

About two dozen George Washington University undergrads assembled outside the venue where Clinton would speak a couple hours later at the Vital Voices gala event, which also featured Vice President Joe Biden.  They cheered and held signs reading "Ready for Hillary 2016" and "Power To The Pantsuit," a reference to Clinton’s signature wardrobe choice. After a few cheers and short speeches, the crowd dispersed, their point made.

"Ready for Hillary" student leader Avery Jaffe, a GW undergrad who worked as an Ohio field organizer for President Barack Obama‘s campaign in 2012, told The Cable the rally was just the beginning of what will be a concerted effort to both urge Clinton to get into the race and to raise money for her prospective campaign in advance. His student group is working together with "Ready for Hillary PAC," which has already raised significant funds, he said.

The group launched its web page Tuesday and the effort already has 50,000 Facebook likes, 40,000 Twitter followers, and 30,000 Instagram followers, according to Jaffe. The rally was organized around Clinton’s first public speech since leaving office, Jaffe said.

The PAC is being run by Clinton friend Allida Black and long-time supporter Adam Parkhomenko, who started his first "Draft Hillary" campaign in 2003 and worked for Clinton until 2008. The group will raise money, sell merchandise, and build lists of supporters over the next two years while Clinton mulls over whether to run, according to Dave Weigel over at Slate.

"[Black]’s so dedicated to the cause that she’s willing to sever all ties to Hillary in order to chair the Super PAC," Jaffe said.

The group hopes to raise seven figures, and numerous bundlers from Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign have already signed on with Ready for Hillary PAC, Seth Bringman, the communications director for the PAC, told The Cable. Their first public financial disclosure will be filed in July.

But what if Clinton doesn’t run? Her longtime spokesman Philippe Reines told CNN this week, "I think people aren’t just getting ahead of themselves; they’re getting ahead of her."

"We hope that she will run and we believe she will run," Bringman said. The Super PAC can also use the money to support other candidates if Hillary demurs, but that’s not something the group is thinking about right now.

"She’s going to be convinced by people like the 100,000 people who have already signed up with Ready for Hillary," he said. "Even if she doesn’t want it, we believe she’s going to be convinced by her supporters."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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