The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, June 11, 2002  

Godfrey Sperling Sees Presidential Candidacy in `04

Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Science Monitor, speculating upon the prospect of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) running for President in 2004, concludes that the former First Lady will be a candidate for the Democratic nomination in that year despite facing long odds and the ill wishes among the vast hordes of “Hillary-haters.”

In an essay published in the Monitor today -- “Why Hillary Clinton Will Run for President” -- Sperling draws parallels between Mrs. Clinton’s current political predicament and that of her husband in the months leading up to the start of the 1992 campaign. Sperling maintains that former President Bill Clinton initially opted in to the `92 race believing that no matter his performance, he would be in a better position to run in 1996 and that Mrs. Clinton views her own prospective candidacy in like manner.

Sperling cites surveys by John Zogby in which the pollster has found that Mrs. Clinton “always finishes a strong second to [former Vice President Al] Gore,” that is, ahead of Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). The outcome may be surprising given Mrs. Clinton’s high negative ratings, but Zogby points out that Clinton’s “strong negatives” reading reached 46 percent when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002, a race she won, and that “her negatives” are now “down in the mid-30s.”

More important, Sperling argues Mrs. Clinton believes her husband’s success vindicates the position she took in the second half of 1991 urging that the campaign move forward despite reports of marital infidelity.

“So it is that even if the sky may be dark for her prospects, I think Hillary will run. She’ll remember how Bill prevailed in the primary and the election after that early period when his prospects didn’t look at all good,” Sperling writes. “She will also figure that even if she loses, she can put herself in a good position for being the nominee in 2008, when the prospect for winning may be much better.”

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