Elizabeth Warren Only Sort of Not Running for President

The answer is still no. Or is it?

Elizabeth Warren

Associated Press

Elizabeth Warren is once again making headlines by declaring that she is not running for president. Sure, sure. She’s always not running for president. But it’s the way she’s not running for president that matters here. In the cottage industry of speculating on Elizabeth Warren’s desire to run for president, even the slightest shift in tone, the slightest faltering in her stone wall, is Big News.

In political world of qualified no’s and hedged bets, Warren wins style points for the vehemence of her past presidential denials. Where other politicians like to leave the metaphorical door open, Warren usually prefers to slam it in reporters’ faces, giving off an air of “what more can I possibly say to convince you people?” On the greatest hits of Ways Elizabeth Warren Has Denied a Presidential Run: “I am not running for president,” “I pledge to serve out my term,” and “No, no, no, no, no.”

And still, The New York Times described a growing clamor for her candidacy among the populist Democrats. The New Republic called her “Hillary’s Worst Nightmare.” The simple fact that her denials made news suggests that no one quite believed that she’d remain steadfast.

Were they justified? In an interview with People of all places, Warren got the familiar question. Her answer, though, wasn’t quite as exasperated.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “If there’s any lesson I’ve learned in the last five years, it’s don’t be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open.”

She added, “Right now, I’m focused on figuring out what else I can do from this spot.”

You don’t think so? Right now? Amazing doors? Sure, you’re still not running for president. Technically, nothing has changed. But this is a world where even your comically explicit denials got winks from incredulous journalists. So if you say “I don’t think so,” journalists hear, “Warm up the campaign jet, and start printing the bumper stickers.” And they definitely did not miss the signal this time. “Elizabeth Warren may have just opened the door to a White House run,” Salon declares. “Elizabeth Warren opens the door to a presidential run,” The Washington Post confirms.

Start working out your Elizabeth Warren impression, SNL. You’ve been warned.