Hillary Not Running! (see disclaimer for details)

A cautionary tale about discussing Hillary Clinton in a world in which every person associated with the senator has become a human tarot card:

Last Tuesday evening, longtime Hillary pal and confidante Susan Thomases sent guests into a frenzy at a small meet-and-greet for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson when she indicated that Hillary Clinton wasn’t, in fact, running for president.

According to two guests who were present at the “friend-raiser,” which was hosted by Democratic donor Jane Hoffman at her Upper East Side townhouse, Thomases made the statement shortly after the first course had been eaten and cleared.

Richardson had been making his big presidential pitch to the guests, when he interrupted himself to apologize to Ms. Thomases — a well-known Clinton supporter — for putting her in an uncomfortable position. To the surprise of the guests– who included Ms. Hoffman’s parents, Democratic donor-couple David and Sylvia Steiner, real estate developer Dan Brodsky and his wife Esty, hedge funder Terry Meehan, and, later in the evening, Governor Jon Corzine — Thomases said that he need not worry because Hillary wasn’t running for president.

“The way she put it was, [Hillary's] husband thinks she’s running, many of her friends think she’s running, but she’s not running,” said one of the guests, who asked not to be identified. “It was almost like an atom bomb dropped on the room…. My jaw just fell to the floor.”

Ms. Thomases, reached by phone just a few minutes ago, denied saying anything either explosive or new. “No, I did not say that. I didn’t say her friends think she’s running,” she said. “I said, ‘She’s not running, she’s running for the Senate, and that’s what she’s doing, period.’ There was nothing awkward about it, because she’s running for the senate, which something you all know. It was nothing new, I just repeated the same old.”

But at least some of the guests are still convinced that there was at least some significance to what Thomases said.

“I know other supporters of hers think she has to run because she loses a lot of her power if she’s not in the race,” said one of the guests. “A lot of her power is imputed to the possibility that she’s the nominee or the next president. So she will string this out as long as she can, but she may not be running.”

– Lizzy Ratner