If a Senator gets asked whether he (or she) is running for president it’s much smarter to be ambivalent, whether you plan on running or not. If you are planning on running, It’s a good thing to get the extra media attention. There are after all 100 other Senators in the Senate, all vying for a spot in the media sun.
If you aren’t really interested in running, you should be ambivalent too. As a Senator you have to build alliances in Congress, if you want your pet projects to become law. If other politicians in Congress think you might be the next president, they will be more interested in working with you in the hope they will reap the rewards after you get elected.
Even if you don’t become the party’s nomination, an ambitious Senator, could still become a vice-president or a secretary of one of the departments. It’s always smart to be friendly with an ambitious Senator.
With governors, politics are different. You don’t want your name to be out there too early in the race. You’re popularity will peak too soon. It’s about momentum. Just look at Vermont’s governor Howard Dean. Long before the Iowa caucuses he had been chewed on by each and every media outlet in America. There was nothing fresh about him. Everybody knew everything about him. You also give your competitors too much time to dig up dirt on you. After the newness wears off, you’ll spend most of your time answering questions about things you did or didn’t do in your past.
A better strategy is to build your campaign machine in silence and just before the caucuses and primaries, you come out of the closet. If you did your job well and your campaign machine works, you will end up a good second or third in the race after the first few caucuses and primaries. This will give you the media attention and the momentum you need to surge ahead as you suck the oxygen out of the other candidates’ campaigns.
So in response to the question everybody asks me these days, will Hillary run for president, I can only say I haven't the faintest idea. (I couldn't suppress laughing after writing the last sentence)