The Hillary factor (KENNETH R. BAZINET, THOMAS M. DeFRANK and MICHAEL McAULIFF, 11/11/06, NY DAILY NEWS)
While some key Republican strategists dream of a Clinton candidacy and have gone out of their way to encourage it, King says Clinton really would be a tough candidate.
“Probably a lot of Republicans would want Hillary, but I think they’d be making a mistake,” he said, pointing out that Democrats licked their chops over Ronald Reagan in 1980.
“The Clintons have the best political team in the country – they’re like the government in exile,” King said.
That shadow government will be at the heart of her decision, and not everyone inside it thinks she should run – meaning Clinton is in for some tense, heated strategy sessions.
After her husband, sources told the Daily News that key group starts with party mastermind Howard Wolfson, who just helped two New York Democrats win GOP-held congressional seats. Others on that level include Harold Ickes, Mandy Grunwald, Ann Lewis, Capricia Marshall, John Podesta, Tamera Luzzatto, Terry McAuliffe and Patty Soltis Doyle.
They will need good information to start their work. Getting that will include focus groups and advice from experts and Democratic Party sages. Then there is collecting raw data.
“The plan is to poll and poll and poll and then make a decision,” someone close to the camp said.
If the decision to go is made, Clinton already has a national-caliber organization she has spent more than $25 million creating to kick into action. She’ll be able to draw on an innovative voter databank that Ickes is building. And there are all the chits she and Bill Clinton earned helping new Democrats take back Congress.
“All of the pieces are in place – organization and money – but they still have to again do the calculation of the math involved to determine if she can win,” a longtime Clinton source said. In order to use the $15 million she has in her Senate campaign account, she would have to form an official exploratory committee.
There are a lot of reasons to skip the high-risk bid. There are personal stakes to consider. She was the first First Lady to get elected to the Senate and losing a presidential race could take a shine off Clinton’s historic luster, and knock her off the Senate power ladder she’s climbing so skillfully.
“A lot us want her to run, but she hears from certain people who think she should be a senior stateswoman and do that for a long period of time rather than end up just being the punch line to a Jay Leno joke,” said one Clinton confidant.
Failing could also hurt her party.
“She doesn’t want to lose and take the gains in the House and Senate with her,” the source said.
The bit about losing having an effect on her future ascent of the Senate leadership ladder is just silly.