Reid: Hillary Clinton Might Not be Best Candidate

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s comments yesterday that Alberto Gonzales is absolutely qualified for the Supreme Court got lots of coverage, including this Reno Gazette-Journal piece. Buried in this story, though, is a comment that may be even more noteworthy:

Reid is wary of Clinton̢۪s bid for president, saying there are other Democratic senators and governors who might be better candidates.

“It is a wide-open field,†Reid said. “The person who is leading at this stage is Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton, of course, has lots of money. She comes from a state with lots of people in it, but she still has a few ties to Arkansas. I think she is the person to beat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she is the best candidate.â€

The man’s two-for-two. Indeed, this is the Harry Reid I thought we’d be seeing when he replaced Daschle. Instead, we had been getting Daschle in a Harry Reid mask. One wonders if the reversion to form is an aberation.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brooklyn Dave says:

    I really can’t figure this one out at all. I understand the comment about Gonzales. Say anything that would make the Democrats sound reasonable, knowing that Gonzo is a Bush buddy and also knowing that he really isn’t favored among conservatives. But putting a verbal kink on Hillary’s march to the White House is something I didn’t expect. Is Harry Reid the type of senator that suffers from verbal diarrhea or a graduate of the school of loose lips? Or is this a small calculated indication that many Democrats don’t intend to give Hillary a free pass as their leader for 2008.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Maybe he actually means what he’s saying here? Many Democrats understand that while Hillary is the odds-on favorite to win the nomination, she faces serious obstacles in a general election battle. I don’t underestimate her–she could win the whole shooting match–but a moderate Southern governor with defense credibility would have an easier time of it.

  3. carpeicthus says:

    I don’t really see anything outrageous about this, and not just because I agree with this. It’s 2005, the field IS open. There’s no contradiction is saying this now and then supporting Clinton’s candidacy later, if he wanted to. It’s cagey.

  4. Matthew Rinker says:

    Let us not forget that Harry Reid is the leader of the Democratic Party (at least the federally elected wing of it). Should he come out and say Hillary Clinton is the person that we want and everyone else should stand down? Absolutely not. The more Democrats stand down from rallying behind one candidate too early is better better. If every Democrat flew behind the supposed candidacy of Clinton, the more the right wing would go after her – or any person the party rallied behind.

  5. ozzippit says:

    Reid may awake soon and find a horse’s head in his bed.

  6. DUNUT says:

    At least he din’dt call her a skanky ol hag.