Opinion Brief

Will Hillary challenge Obama in 2012?

Conservatives are speculating that Hillary Clinton might mount a White House run against her "snakebit" boss. Are they onto something?

The epic battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination ended two years ago, but the "Clinton-Obama intrigue" is far from over. There has been a sudden burst in speculation that now-Secretary of State Clinton may run on the Democrats' presidential ticket in 2012. Socialite and journalist Sally Quinn says in an online column for The Washington Post that Clinton could replace Vice President Joe Biden as Obama's running mate. But some conservatives are starting to speculate that Hillary might challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2012. Is either scenario plausible? (Watch a Fox News discussion about Hillary's presidential ambitions)

It could happen — Obama is vulnerable: President Obama has "disappointed his base," says Ben Domenech at RedState, "on health care, on Gitmo, on Afghanistan, on security policy," on Don't Ask Don't Tell. The price for that could be a challenge to his reelection bid. It might be from someone to the left of Hillary Clinton, although her strong points — "competence, foreign policy acumen," and "vindication on the spoiled promises of hope and change" — would be especially appealing to disgruntled liberals.
"Could Hillary return in 2012?"

This is just Republican "wishful thinking": It's easy to understand why speculation is "rampant" among conservatives that Hillary Clinton will challenge Obama in 2012, says Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast. "Presidents who face serious primary challenges — Ford, Carter, Bush I — almost always lose." But there is no groundswell of liberal dissatisfaction —the president's approval rating among Democrats is 84 percent — so "the chances that Obama will face a primary challenge are vanishingly slim, and the chances that he will lose re-election only slightly higher."
"Ignore the right's Hillary hype"

Clinton looks better to Democrats every day: "Sooner or later the secretary of state is going to come under fairly consistent pressure to begin to consider 2012," says Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. With President Obama "starting to look snakebit," it's only natural that Democrats would ask themselves whether they made a mistake by nominating him instead of Clinton in 2008. She probably won't do it — "she has enjoyed being loyal" — but she'll have plenty of support if she decides to go for it.
"A snakebit president"

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