When Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made four different arguments about Hillary Clinton on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

One: Clinton might not run for president in 2016. "Given the month she just had, I actually doubt very much whether she actually will run for president in 2016," Priebus told NBC's David Gregory.

Two: Clinton could be an easier opponent for the GOP than, say, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), or Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). "I think it's sometimes worse running against a blank slate. Hillary has decades of history for us to explore."

Three: Clinton's tenure as secretary of state isn't a plus for her. "Benghazi shouldn't be swept under the rug, four diplomats had died. Boko Haram, these people have over 200 girls in Nigeria. The Syria issue, the Russian recent..."

And four: Her health should be fair game if she runs. "I think that health and age is fair game. It's fair game for Ronald Reagan. It's fair game for John McCain."

So does Priebus think Hillary is an easy candidate to defeat and that she might not even run to begin with? Or is he poking holes in her record and age because of the very opposite?

Here's a helpful tip: Pay more attention to actions rather than words.

In the past seven days, the RNC has issued two different memos hitting Clinton -- "Did Hillary Avoid Hard Choices?" and "Hillary's Hard Choices."

In his speech at the RNC's spring meeting, Priebus mentioned Clinton twice in his speech -- the same number of mentions he gave to President Obama and "Obamacare."

And then yesterday, Priebus went on national TV to talk about -- what else? -- Hillary Clinton.

None of this is to say that Clinton is definitely running for president in 2016. Or that she is going to win if she does. There are no certainties in American politics.

But this is as close to a certainty as you can get: Clinton is a more formidable candidate, on paper, than she was in 2008. According to last month's NBC/WSJ poll, Clinton had a 48%-32% favorable/unfavorable rating -- better than her 42%-42% score in June 2007, or 42%-44% in April 2008.

Part of that is due to her four years as secretary of state, a relatively apolitical post that lowered her negative ratings. Another part is due to her loyal service to President Obama, uniting her supporters and detractors from her 2008 presidential campaign. Indeed, her fav/unfav rating among Democrats is a whopping 77%-6%, according to the NBC/WSJ poll.

All of which explains why the RNC's actions have been so focused on Clinton.