Proving once again that presidential politics operate on a completely different calendar than the rest of the world, Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday endorsed Hillary Clinton for president 40 months before Americans will head to the polls to elect their next president. "It’s important that we start early, building a grassroots army from the ground up, and effectively using the tools of the Internet – all things that President Obama did so successfully – so that if Hillary does decide to run, we’ll be ready to help her win," she said in a statement offering her support for Ready For Hillary, a political action committee prepping for a potential Clinton campaign.
Clinton, of course, hasn't actually said she'll make her second run at the White House in 2016, but that hasn't stopped pundits and politicians inside the Beltway and out of it from declaring her the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination. McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who served with Clinton in the Senate, had already gone on record about her desire to see the former secretary of state throw her hat into the ring in three years time. As Clinton was departing the State Department earlier this year, McCaskill released a statement saying that "if [Clinton's] future plans include seeking the presidency, which I hope they do, then I look forward to being on her team and working my heart out to see her elected."
McCaskill wasn't so supportive of the former first lady the last time around, as you (or at least the Clintons) may remember. During the 2008 election cycle, McCaskill threw her lot in with then-Sen. Barack Obama. "I have deep respect for Hillary Clinton," the Missouri Democrat said then. "She's a smart woman and a strong leader, but at this moment in history it is very important that we look forward with optimism and hope that we've not been able to gin up in this country for a while."
For the record, my calendar tells me today is June 18, 2013.