Clinton's world is dropping the pretense

Neera Tanden hugs Hillary Clinton at the Center for American Progress 10th Anniversary event in 2013.

Story highlights

  • One of Hillary Clinton's closest confidants hinted at likely presidential run on Tuesday
  • "I am really exited for these next two years," said Neera Tanden, a former Clinton policy adviser.
  • Tanden's spokeswoman says she was "kidding"

Washington (CNN)Neera Tanden, one of Hillary Clinton's longtime confidants and former policy adviser, dropped whatever coyness was left regarding the former secretary of state's all-but-certain presidential run at an event on Tuesday night.

Addressing an audience of about 150 people at an Asian-American and Pacific Islander Ready for Hillary event, Tanden -- president of the Center for American Progress -- said she was looking forward to seeing everyone in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
    "I am really exited for these next two years. With any Clinton adventure, it is a roller coaster. It is going to be very exciting," Tanden said. "She is really going to need all of us to step up, step in, be involved, fight for her, be a voice for her."
    Tanden closed the speech with a call to action for the crowd by referencing Clinton's failed 2008 campaign.
    "I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail, in Iowa. I still have PTSD," she said, referring to the fact that Clinton finished third in the caucus. "So maybe I will be spending my time in New Hampshire, Nevada. I will say one thing about Hillary, she always remembers, she always remembers her friends, in good times and in bad, so I know it will be an adventure, but I am glad we will all be doing it together."
    Tanden, who has worked with Clinton since 1997, is very close with the former first lady. The two regularly speak and because of their relationship, Tanden has been sheepish in the past to comment on her possible 2016 run.
    When Clinton ran for Senate in 2000, Tanden was her deputy campaign manager and issues director and went on to serve as legislative director in Clinton's Senate office. When Clinton ran for president, Tanden served as policy director and adviser.
    "When you are making decisions, whether you are secretary of state, or senator, first lady, or future president, it matters who is at that table," Tanden said at the event. "I can tell you, we will be at that table if she is president."
    Rachel Rosen, a spokeswoman for the Center for American Progress, said that Tanden was "kidding about spending time in those states — she's not going anywhere."
    "Neera wasn't saying [Clinton] would run, but what it would be like if she did run," she said.
    Of course, it is the worst kept secret in Washington that Clinton is running for president. In the past two months, the former first lady has hired a number of top staffers and been meeting with advisers to chat out a strategic course for a presidential run.
    Tanden has not said whether or not she would leave the think-tank and join the likely Clinton campaign. The Washington Post reported in 2013 that Tanden would not return to a hypothetical campaign. Politico, on the other hand, reported that Tanden was "likely to play an informal role if she [Clinton] runs."
    The think-tank president has been equally coy about whether or not Clinton will run at all.
    "I honestly believe that whoever runs for president," Tanden told the Post, "is going to have to have a vision of how to grow this economy in a way that's more shared than it has been."
    Adam Parkhomenko, founder of Ready for Hillary, reflected on Tanden's comments to his organization by saying this: "We are always as ready for Neera as we are for Hillary."