Without Tipping 2016 Hand, Clinton Offers Reasons Not to Run

SAN FRANCISCO (Los Angeles Times/MCT/AP) -

There are some who look at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s activities — the book tour; the serial newspaper and media interviews — and her opportunity to shatter what remains America’s ultimate glass ceiling and figure a 2016 run for president is something close to a no-brainer.

She, apparently, is not one of them.

Appearing Wednesday night in San Francisco, Clinton declined for the hundredth, or perhaps hundred-thousandth, time to clarify her much-guessed-at intentions regarding a second White House bid. She answered, as though by rote, that if she runs she will do so because she believes that “I have the skills and experience to do the job and do it well.”

Perhaps more notable were the Democratic front-runner’s much lengthier thoughts on why an individual would choose not to run for president, even if they were desirous of the position and perfectly suited for the job.

“There are a number of qualified people who, if they could wake up in the morning and somebody were to say, ‘You’re going to be president’ would serve our country well and we’d be proud of them,” Clinton said during a question-and-answer session that followed a speech to several hundred well-wishers and purchasers of her new memoir.

“But that’s not how we do it,” she went on. “We say, ‘Okay, get ready, put your armor on, run that gauntlet, see who survives at the end.’ And whoever is standing up still, that’s the winner.”

It is a process, Clinton suggested, that is an unappealing if unavoidable product of the current political system, taking up “a lot of time, energy, money.”

Sales for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book dropped sharply in its second week of publication, but her memoir remains the country’s most popular nonfiction book. According to Nielsen BookScan numbers released Wednesday, it sold just over 48,000 copies last week, compared to around 85,000 the previous week. The figures do not include e-book sales. Publisher Simon & Schuster, which had announced that total first-week sales exceeded 100,000 copies, declined Wednesday to offer any numbers on the second week.

Sales are far behind the pace of her previous memoir, which came out in 2003 and sold around 600,000 copies its first week.