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Inside the super PAC that’s already paving the way for the next Clinton White House.

Slate | April 1, 2013

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in January. Many are already preparing for her possible presidential run in 2016. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

It was the thrilling-est busywork of Adam Parkhomenko’s young life. Hillary Clinton, still in the Senate, would meet some well-wisher. She’d grab his business card and deliver it to her Friends of Hillary PAC, specifically to Parkhomenko, with "three sentences of notes" about the possible ally/voter/donor.

"She wanted us to save all that information," says Parkhomenko, breaking between meetings for coffee in downtown D.C. "She wanted to follow up with them. I’d get that all the time. President Clinton did the same thing. They’d hear from people who wanted to be in our world, and they’d take the names. They’d call, they’d ask ‘How’s the database doing?’ Eventually that got shortened. ‘How’s the DBS?’ "

Talking about data entry makes Parkhomenko wistful. This summer will mark the 10th year of his campaign to elect President Hillary Clinton, a campaign that began when he was in high school. For four of those years, Clinton was secretary of state, barred from the grubby world of politics, Jefferson-Jackson dinners, and databases. The expert prepper lost precious time to prep.

Enter the Ready for Hillary PAC, founded in January, ramping up its activities "in the next two weeks." It’s a shadow campaign set up at least two years before Clinton will actually decide whether or not to run for president. It’ll raise money, sell merchandise, and build lists until the actual Clinton campaign bursts to life. And then it will change its name to "Ready PAC," raise money, sell merchandise, and build lists, etc.

"I’ve always looked at Hillary as a brand," says Parkhomenko, who at age 27 will be the executive director of Ready for Hillary PAC. "That’s been especially true in the last couple of years. It’s a brand I believe in. It’s a brand I want to protect. It’s a brand I want to build."

There have been presidential draft campaigns long before they were caucuses or primaries or, obviously, PACs. But Clinton’s advantage is so deep and broad that the super PAC looks downright gaudy. By miles, she’s the most popular Democrat in America. In Iowa, whose anti-Iraq War caucus-goers hobbled her 2008 campaign, Clinton leads the field by at least 39 points. In New Hampshire she’s up by 50. In trial heats, in their own home states, she slaughters the strongest Republican candidates.

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