It's that season when one-on-one meetings between almost-official candidates and prominent members of the I-have-no-intention-to-run camp make headlines. In this case, the New York Times reports that Hillary Clinton met privately with Elizabeth Warren in December in what was described as a "cordial and productive" get-together. The Times sees it as an acknowledgement that Warren's clout in the Senate is impossible for Clinton to ignore. For Warren, the meeting in Clinton's home was a chance to push her populist agenda; for Clinton, it was a sign that "she is aware of how much the debate over economic issues has shifted even during the relatively short time she was away from domestic politics while serving as secretary of state."
While Warren has been consistent in saying she has no plans to run, an opinion piece by Matthew Yglesias at Vox makes the case that Clinton would be better off if Warren—or Joe Biden, or any serious candidate—does so. "Not because there's anything wrong with Clinton as a nominee per se," he writes. "But because there's a lot wrong with a non-existent primary campaign and an untested candidate." Otherwise, Democrats will end up with a nominee who's not in fighting shape when the general election rolls around. Elsewhere, an assessment at the National Journal says that while conventional wisdom in Washington has Clinton as the favorite to win the White House—thanks in part to the improving economy—academic modeling outside DC suggests the opposite. (Read more Hillary Clinton stories.)