Hillary Clinton sounds and acts like she is running for president
Democrat ends hectic week with an address that sounds suspiciously like a stump speech
Hillary Clinton hasn't said if she's running for president. But you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise over the past week.
Clinton wrapped up a week of stepped-up appearances Friday, delivering what prognosticators quickly dubbed a potential stump speech: a 35-minute policy talk that decried the rising income gap between the rich and poor and touted her husband's stewardship of the US economy.
Clinton pointed to the country's economic growth during the 1990s under Bill Clinton, calling it evidence that "it's possible to have broad-based growth".
"The 1990s taught us that even in the face of difficult long-term economic trends, it's possible, through smart policies and sound investments, to enjoy broad-based growth and shared prosperity," she said.
Clinton said the following eight years - without mentioning the administration of president George W. Bush by name - offered lessons of how budget surpluses could turn into deficits and "what happens when your only policy prescription is to cut taxes for the wealthy".
"I am an optimist, and I believe the time has come for us to begin not only a conversation, but a serious effort to see which big ideas will renew America for our sakes, for our children and, yes, for our future grandchildren," she said in a populist-themed address to the New America Foundation, a research centre in Washington.
Clinton said the income inequality was threatening the basic promise of the US, noting that workers' productivity has increased and companies were benefiting while wages for most Americans were flat.
"It's at the heart of what I believe is the basic bargain of America: no matter who you are or where you come from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you will have the opportunity to build a good life for yourself and your family," she said.
The new exposure comes as Clinton prepares to release her book Hard Choices, about her time as secretary of state. It also comes as Republicans gear up their work to define her. Congressional Republicans have revived an investigation into how the Obama administration - with secretary of state Clinton then at the helm - handled the September 2012 attack on a diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead.
They've questioned why Clinton's State Department failed to label Boko Haram, the Nigerian group that's kidnapped hundreds of teenage girls, a terrorist group.
Last week Republican strategist Karl Rove even forced Clinton's camp - and her husband - to deny suggestions she had suffered brain damage during a fall.
"If she has brain damage, I must be in really bad shape because she's still quicker than I am," Bill Clinton quipped.
Hillary Clinton, who mostly stayed off the campaign trail once she became secretary of state, also stepped back into fundraising, headlining an event for daughter Chelsea's mother-in-law, Marjorie Margolies, who's running for the House of Representatives from a congressional district near Philadelphia.