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Did Hillary Clinton just drop a presidential hint on Twitter?

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Jacquelyn Martin/AP/File

(Read caption) Former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton laughs as she gives a speech during a ceremony honoring her at the Pentagon in Washington, Feb. 14. Clinton renewed the conversation of a presidential run Monday with her very own hashtag – joining Twitter to much fanfare.

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As if her 2016 White House intentions haven’t already been hashed and rehashed, Hillary Rodham Clinton renewed that conversation Monday with her very own hashtag – joining Twitter to much fanfare.

She describes herself as: “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD ...”

Let the image crafting commence anew. Ms. Clinton touts her extensive professional credentials with a dash of humor, a splash of the self-deprecating. And look, she even loves dogs!

ImageCould you pass a US citizenship test? Find out.

Her first tweet:

“Thanks for the inspiration @ASmith83 & @Sllambe – I’ll take it from here ... #tweetsfromhillary.”

Clinton is referring to Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe, who created the popular meme, “Texts from Hillary.” Her avatar is the Diana Walker shot that accompanied the Smith-Lambe site; in it, she is sunglasses-clad and texting from her seat on an airplane.

It’s that “TBD” – to be determined – that has prompted the flurry of interest in her debut on the social networking site, a must for public figures, journalists, students, authors, and anyone who wants to be anyone in the modern technological age. A person probably can’t run for president, for example, without a Twitter handle.

Clinton was welcomed to Twitter by everyone from Ben Affleck to Patti Solis Doyle (Clinton’s effectively ousted 2008 campaign manager) to UN Women to a real person with the handle: @sarahwbolton: “How in the world was I not already following @hillaryclinton?!?! I need more #tweetsfromhillary in my life.”

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And that’s likely what Clinton and her handlers are hoping. That more of her is better: This is the Twitter essence, after all. It allows an unfiltered direct-from-the-source commentary on all things.

Word of Clinton’s Twitter arrival – a 2016 tease for all those handicapping the race not even five months after President Obama was sworn in for a second term – was headline-making. “Playful Hillary Clinton Joins Twitter,” ABC News reports. “Twitterati warmly welcome Hillary Clinton,” the New York Daily News writes.

She’s “playful” and her reception was warm. This is so not the congressional hearings on Benghazi. Twitter allows politicians to cut out the middle men and women, the elected officials, reporters, and pundits who tell voters what to think about a public figure.

A Gallup poll released Monday shows Clinton’s favorability slipping this spring, perhaps a result of sustained questions about how the State Department under her leadership handled the security situation in Benghazi, Libya. Her unfavorable rating is up to 39 percent, from 31 percent in April. Her favorability rating, though still solid, is down to 58 percent from 64 percent in the previous survey.

Republican strategist Kevin Madden says Twitter has “become such an essential way to communicate with audiences in today’s digital age.” The frenzy over “its latest high-profile member was bound to happen,” he adds.

“Joining Twitter isn't a sure sign that a decision has been made about a 2016 race,” Mr. Madden tells the Monitor. “It's just a sure sign that Twitter is now standard operating procedure as a communications tool for public figures interested in staying in touch with public audiences.”

Margie Omero, a Democratic strategist, says Twitter will allow Clinton, forbidden in her role as secretary of State from discussing overtly political matters, to newly engage with her supporters "in a political and grass-roots way."

Is the move the surest sign yet that Clinton will launch a White House bid?

"She doesn't want to close any doors," Ms. Omero says. "This is the first step, but the fact that she's taking it doesn't mean [a presidential run] is a fait accompli."

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton, coaxed onto Twitter recently by the comedian Stephen Colbert, welcomed his wife: “Does @Twitter have a family share plan? Great to be here with @HillaryClinton & @ChelseaClinton. Looking forward to #tweetsfromhillary.”

He has 757,727 followers as of midday Tuesday. With Ms. Clinton’s feed boasting 371,173 followers by late morning, how long before the former first lady’s number rivals that of her husband?

Perhaps that’s another contest we should all be watching.


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