In this July 15, 2014, photo, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts to host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," in New York. As Clinton promotes her book, liberals in the Democratic party are elbowing into the 2016 presidential conversation while pitching populist messages on the economy and immigration. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
This June 25, 2014, file photo shows former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaking in San Diego. There may be more to that "we the people" notion than you thought.These are boom times for the concept of "corporate personhood." Corporations are people? Mitt Romney got mocked during the 2012 presidential campaign for the very idea. But it turns out the principle has been lurking in U.S. law for more than a century, and the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, gave it more oomph this week when it ruled that certain businesses are entitled to exercise religious rights just as do people.  (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
 (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

Mark Murray, NBC NEWS

WASHINGTON (NBC News)–Analysis: Hillary Clinton isn’t simply dipping her toes into the 2016 presidential waters; it looks more like she’s sizing up for a somersault – with a full twist – off a diving board.

But if she ends up deciding not to jump in, Democrats want an answer sooner rather than later.

In the past few months, Clinton has concluded a big book tour with dozens of news interviews; distanced herself (either in small or substantial ways) from her party’s currently unpopular president; and is now heading next month to Iowa, which traditionally holds the first presidential nominating contest.

What’s significant about all of this activity, Democrats say, is that the more she walks and talks like a presidential candidate – effectively freezing out any other Democrats even contemplating a run – the more difficult it becomes to turn around and say no.

“The longer it goes, the harder it becomes for her not to run, unless there is a significant reason she can’t,” says Democratic communications strategist Karen Finney, an MSNBC contributor.

“A ‘no’ has to come earlier than a ‘yes,’” adds another Democratic strategist, who wished to remain anonymous. “If it’s a no, I suspect she won’t let it drag on.”



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