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September 3, 2006
Will Hillary Pass On Presidential Race?

The Times of London joins a growing number of media outlets that report on Hillary Clinton's supposed reluctance to run for President, in 2008 or anytime else. The Democrats share this reluctance based on consistently high negatives in polling and want her to stay in the Senate -- but another Clinton wants to live in the White House again:

FRIENDS of Hillary Clinton have been whispering the unthinkable. Despite her status as the runaway frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, some of her closest advisers say she might opt out of the White House race and seek to lead her party in the Senate.

The former first lady longs to return to the White House with husband Bill as consort. Only last week she told television viewers America would be led by a woman one day. “Stay tuned,” she said.

First, however, she has to win the election. Some Democratic party elders — the American equivalent of the Tories’ “men in grey suits” — say Clinton may back out of the race of her own volition. ...

Her final decision is likely to be made next spring. One close friend of the Clintons said: “There is no way she won’t run for president.” According to a member of “Hillaryland”, her close-knit inner-circle, she would be letting herself and her supporters down if she declined to take a shot at the White House.

Others are not so sure. If she balks at the presidency, “she can win a huge amount of goodwill by donating her money to colleagues in the Senate,” another associate said.

Like the other articles, the Times relies on anonymously-sourced gossip for its story. That doesn't make the gossip false -- most political stories about politicians' future plans get anonymously sourced -- but it doesn't make it reliable, either. One might say that the number and increasing frequency of these stories gives the rumors more credibility, but it also could mean that certain people in Democratic circles have started a whispering campaign to get her to withdraw from the race.

Who might do that? Oh, maybe staffers for Al Gore, John Kerry, Mark Warner, and so on.

The most laughable part of the article is the suggestion that Hillary would pass on the presidential run because she wants to dedicate herself to bipartisanship in the Senate. Someone seems to forget that Hillary coined the term "vast right-wing conspiracy" and spent years telling people that her husband's woes sprang from Republicans out to get him. They have mistaken her studied centrism for bipartisanship; her whole Senate voting record has been calculated to draw down the high negatives that still plague her, and any alliances with Republican Senators have aimed for that purpose. That's not necessarily bad, but it doesn't come from a love of bipartisanship. Even Bill was more bipartisan that Hillary.

No one raises $33 million for a Senate race in which she runs effectively unopposed. (Quick: name her Republican challenger without checking Google.) She's building a war chest for a presidential run, and she will continue to build it, because she has planned this campaign for six years. The only reason she ran for the Senate at all was to capture the White House; she could have made a fortune on the lecture circuit otherwise.

She's running. She may well fulfill the predictions of the prognosticators by winning the primary and losing the general election; if she wins the nomination, she almost certainly will lose, if just for the reason that people will want a President without the last name of Clinton or Bush for the first time in twenty years. Make no mistake, though, that she will somehow turn herself into a lifer in the Senate.

I will offer one more possibility for her withdrawal. If another Democrat looked too good to lose in the general election, she might be tempted to sit down -- for the promise of a Supreme Court appointment.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 3, 2006 7:13 AM

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» Hillary To Opt Against Presidential Bid? from The Political Pit Bull
The Times of London, quoting several anonymous "Democratic party insiders," reports today that "friends of Hillary" are hinting that she may pull out of the presidential race. But the anonymous sources quoted in this piece are hardly "friends" of Hilla... [Read More]

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» I don’t buy it for a second from The Real Ugly
From the London Times: Friends of Hillary hint she may pull out of presidential race FRIENDS of Hillary Clinton have been whispering the unthinkable. Despite her status as the runaway frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, some o... [Read More]

Tracked on September 3, 2006 10:00 AM

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