Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, 2008

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New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had long expressed interest in the 2008 United States presidential race,[1] drawing media speculation since at least October 2002 on whether or not she would become a candidate.[2] On January 20, 2007, she announced that she was forming an exploratory committee towards that end. In her statement, she left no doubt that she had decided to run: "I'm in. And I'm in to win."[3] No woman has ever been nominated by a major party to run for President.


[edit] Pre-announcement

Clinton had an established national image that made her possible candidacy in 2008 a popular and controversial topic among media pundits, bloggers, and the public at large. For example, in July 2005 the magazine Washington Monthly ran two side-by-side articles, one suggesting that she could win the presidency and one that she could not.[4][5] In a September 2006 WNBC/Marist Poll poll, 43% of Democrats preferred her for the 2008 presidential nomination.[6]

Time magazine cover, from August 2006.  The article inside analyzed the polarizing effect Clinton may have during the 2008 election process.
Time magazine cover, from August 2006. The article inside analyzed the polarizing effect Clinton may have during the 2008 election process.
Newsweek magazine cover story, "Is America Ready?", December 25, 2006 - January 1, 2007 (featuring Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton)
Newsweek magazine cover story, "Is America Ready?", December 25, 2006 - January 1, 2007 (featuring Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton)

In a poll conducted by the same organizations in May 2005, when general voters were asked the likelihood of voting for Senator Clinton for president, 29% of respondents were very likely, 24% were somewhat likely, 7% were not very likely, and 39% were not at all likely. In June 2003, in a similar poll, the numbers had been 21% very likely, 21% somewhat likely, 12% not very likely, and 44% not at all likely. In May 2005, 55% of respondents held a favorable view of Senator Clinton, while 39% held an unfavorable view of her.[7] These findings were similar to the June 2003 poll that found 53% reacted favorably toward her and 41% unfavorably, with the undecided/no opinion bloc representing only 6% of those polled.

Following the 2004 election cycle, Clinton began what some saw as a movement to the political center by supporting health care reform with Contract with America architect and former adversary Newt Gingrich.[8] The alignment represents a reconciliation with the past, for it was Gingrich who helped defeat Clinton's health care plan in the early 1990s. Clinton's January 2005 speech on abortion was viewed by some as part of her alleged move to the center. Liberal media watchdog Media Matters has offered evidence that Clinton's positions have remained consistent with her past.[9][10] In January 2005, the conservative Washington Times reported that Clinton was positioning herself as a centrist;[11] others cited her Senate voting record as proof that was not the case.[12]

In January 2006, the moderate-liberal magazine The New Republic attempted to debunk the "myth" that Senator Clinton's popularity in traditionally Republican regions of upstate New York was unprecedented, arguing both that the region was not as conservative as was often assumed in the national media and that her approval ratings there were comparable to those of other prominent Democrats. The article challenged the assumption that Sen. Clinton's appeal in upstate New York would be the harbinger of her ability to attract support from moderates and conservatives nationwide, setting off a debate throughout the blogosphere as to her presidential prospects.[13]

In February 2006, TheWhiteHouseProject.org named Hillary Rodham Clinton one of its "8 in '08", a group of eight female politicians who could possibly run and/or be elected president in 2008. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said that he's pulling for Clinton to win the White House: "I'd be very pleased if Hillary Clinton would become the next American president".[14]

A presidential poll was conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation from January 19-21, 2006. Hillary Clinton maintained her first place position for the Democratic Party nominee, polling in at 34% when registered voters were asked, "Which of the following people would you be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008?"[15]

A January 19, 2007 ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Clinton beating Senator John McCain 50%-45% and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani 49%-47%.[16]

[edit] Fundraising

In January 2007 Clinton announced that she would forgo public financing for both the primary and general elections due to the spending limits imposed when accepting the federal money.[17] She had a formidable $14 million in the bank left over from her 2006 Senate race, far ahead of the other Democratic candidates. Clinton insiders have said the senator hopes to raise at least $60 million in 2007.[18]Notable fundraisers, such as Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. and Steven Rattner, agreed to work with her campaign.[19]

On April 1, 2007, Clinton announced she had successfully raised $26 million during the preceding three months, dwarfing the previous record of prior-year first quarter fundraising set by Al Gore in 1995 ($9 million). She also transferred $10 million from her Senate fundraising account to her presidential war chest.[20]

[edit] Opposition

In February 2007 The Los Angeles Times reported that several anti-Clinton organizations, including Stop Her Now and Stop Hillary PAC, were preparing "swiftboating" style attacks against her, with venues to include a documentary film, numerous books, and websites.[21]

However, at the same time The New York Times reported that two of the prime Clinton antagonists from the 1990s, wealthy heir Richard Mellon Scaife and investigator Christopher Ruddy, had had a change of heart, no longer thought that Bill Clinton was a bad president, and would not be participating in anti-Hillary Clinton efforts.[22]

A modest brouhaha broke out later in February 2007, when former Bill Clinton fundraiser and ally David Geffen spoke out against Hillary Clinton in an interview with Maureen Dowd, stating that Clinton had no trouble lying and was overproduced and overscripted.[23] In response, the Clinton campaign attacked Geffen and the candidate that he is supporting for President, Barack Obama, charging that Geffen's comments reflected on Obama negatively and that Obama should return Geffen's money.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Maybe, says Hillary Clinton to 2008 presidency", China Daily, 2003-11-27. Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  2. ^ Dowd, Maureen. "Can Hillary Upgrade?", New York Times, 2002-10-02, p. A27. Retrieved on August 22, 2006. (preview only)
  3. ^ http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feature/in/
  4. ^ Cannon, Carl M.. "Why Not Hillary?", Washington Monthly, July/August 2005. Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  5. ^ Sullivan, Amy. "Hillary in 2008?", Washington Monthly, July/August 2005. Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  6. ^ White House 2008: Democratic Nomination. PollingReport.com (December 9-11, 2005). Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  7. ^ "Poll: Mixed messages for Hillary Clinton", CNN, 2005-05-26. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  8. ^ "Gingrich, Clinton Collaborate on Health Care Bill", AP, 2005-05-12. Retrieved on February 6, 2007.
  9. ^ "Garrett echoed GOP, claimed Sen. Clinton changed her stance on abortion", Media Matters, 2005-01-26. Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  10. ^ "New York Times wrongly suggested Clinton recently "shift[ed] themes" to discuss faith", Media Matters, 2005-02-02. Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  11. ^ "Hillary in the middle on values issue", Washington Times, 2005-01-26. Retrieved on February 6, 2007.
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times: Hillary a Moderate? Independent Sources: Not So Fast!. Independent Sources (2005-08-08). Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  13. ^ Katz, Marisa. "UPSTATE IS NO RED STATE", The New Republic, 2006-01-20. Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  14. ^ Gerhard Schroeder Supports Hillary Clinton in 2008. The Lunch Counter (2006-02-13). Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  15. ^ Clinton leads '08 Democratic pack, Polling Report, January 21, 2007
  16. ^ Polling Report, January 19 2007
  17. ^ Death Knell May Be Near For Public Funds, New York Times, January 23, 2007
  18. ^ Clinton Fundraising Goes Full Force, Washington Post, February 7, 2007
  19. ^ Clinton Enters '08 Field, Fueling Race For Money, New York Times, January 21, 2007
  20. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/01/clinton.money/index.html
  21. ^ GOP activists circling Clinton's campaign. Losa Angeles Times (2007-02-18).
  22. ^ As Clinton Runs, Some Old Foes Stay on Sideline. New York Times.
  23. ^ Maureen Dowd Column Incites Hillary-Obama War of Words. Editor & Publisher (2007-02-21).

[edit] See also

[edit] External links