Bill Clinton Touting Hillary Clinton for 2008
Former President Bill Clinton is making no bones about his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, running for president in 2008.
In two television interviews this week, former President Bill Clinton talked up Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential prospects and left open the possibility that she would run in 2008. While Mr. Clinton made it clear that his wife had not decided what to do about 2008, he said she would make a “magnificent” president and even mused aloud about how she might lay the groundwork for a national run.
In the process, Mr. Clinton seemed to stray from the strict party line put forth by Mrs. Clinton and her tight-lipped cadre of advisers: that she is totally focused on getting re-elected to the Senate in 2006 – and not even thinking about 2008. Mr. Clinton, for example, said Mrs. Clinton should not rule out the possibility of running for president in 2008, even if that means she cannot pledge to serve out a full second term. In running for re-election, Mrs. Clinton will almost certainly be buffeted by Republican demands that she pledge to serve out her term if she wins.
In discussing the matter, Mr. Clinton suggested that his wife follow the strategy George W. Bush employed when he ran for a second term as governor of Texas in 1998: He refused to rule out the possibility of cutting short his second term in office to become president. “If she wants to entertain that, she ought to do pretty much what President Bush did,” Mr. Clinton said during an appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Wednesday. “He didn’t rule it out, and he shouldn’t have ruled it out,” Mr. Clinton continued. “He wanted to be in a position to continue his service as governor, and he had things he wanted to accomplish there. I think he was truthful and candid with the people in Texas, and they knew he might run.”
While I disagree that she’d be “magnificent” as president, he’s right on the tactics. Voters are unlikely to penalize HRC for harboring presidential ambitions; they’d be slightly more likely to punish her for claiming she’d serve out her full term and then turning around and running.