Will Elizabeth Warren challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans book on middle class

FILE - In this March 7, 2013 file photo, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pauses while questioning a witness at Senate Banking Committee hearing on anti-money laundering on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Massachusetts Democrat is working on a book she plans to call "Rigged." During a brief telephone interview Tuesday, March 19, 2013, with The Associated Press, she said "Rigged" will be a "first-hand" account of her battles for the middle class. She will write about helping to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and her senate campaign in 2012. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Will Elizabeth Warren challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016?

That's what some observers in Washington are wondering, after a profile of the Massachusetts senator published by the New Republic on Sunday ("Hillary's Nightmare?") takes a hard look at the possibility of a Warren run for the White House.

“Yeah, Hillary is running," a former Warren aide told the magazine. “And she’ll probably win. But Elizabeth doesn’t care about winning. She doesn’t care whose turn it is.”

Earlier this year, Warren co-signed a letter with other Senate Democratic women urging the former first lady, senator and secretary of state to run in 2016. But she sidestepped a direct question from the New Republic's Noam Scheiber about the possibility of taking on Clinton in 2016.

“You’ve asked me about the politics,” Warren said. “All I can do is take you back to the principle part of this. ... I know what I am in Washington to do: I’m here to fight for hard-working families.”

Most insiders say Clinton would be an overwhelming favorite against any Democratic primary opponent. One far-too-early poll released in July showed Clinton holds a 48-point lead over Vice President Joe Biden and a 50-point advantage over Warren among Iowa Democrats.

However, former aides say the former Harvard law professor would be undeterred by polls.

“She has an immense — I can’t put it in words — a sense of destiny,” one said. “If Hillary or the man on the moon is not representing her stuff and her people don’t have a seat at table, she’ll do what she can to make sure it’s represented.”

Scheiber lays out Clinton's "nightmare" like this:

Any candidate who challenged Clinton would need several key assets. The candidate would almost certainly have to be a woman, given Democrats’ desire to make history again. She would have to amass huge piles of money with relatively little effort. Above all, she would have to awaken in Democratic voters an almost evangelical passion. As it happens, there is precisely such a person. Her name is Elizabeth Warren.

Reminder: The first votes that count in the 2016 presidential campaign, the Iowa caususes, are scheduled for early January 2016.