Hillary Clinton must separate herself from the policies of President Barack Obama — but not alienate him too much — if she runs for the president in 2016, says political consultant Doug Schoen, who worked on her 2008 run for the White House.
“Obama’s been very solicitous of her and she cannot run the risk of him turning on her …
“What I would choose to do which is talk about economic growth … Obama talks about redistribution. The Republicans, basically, say no to everything. We need a pro-growth strategy that involves entitlement reform and tax reform.”
Schoen said he is convinced the former Secretary of State, New York senator and First Lady can capture the Democratic primary this time around.
“She can win a primary. She probably will but the real question is after two terms of Obama probably with an approval rating at or below 40, it’s pretty darn tough for any Democrat or any candidate who runs to follow on a win,” he said.
“George H. W. Bush won a third rough, straight Republican turf, but Ronald Reagan had close to a 55, 57 percent approval in 1988. So there’s a real challenge facing Hillary and it isn’t clear to me at this point that she has a strategy for dealing with it.”
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Schoen believes Clinton will need to fight off more Republican flak for her handling of the Benghazi attack, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed on Sept. 11, 2012.
Clinton came under criticism when, during a hearing in which she was pressed for details, she said, “What difference does it make?”
“They’re going to say it does make a difference when four Americans lose their lives in the first attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11,” Schoen said.
“These are real questions that she has to deal with. Call it tough love if you will, but these are questions she has to be prepared to deal with if she’s going to get elected.”
Schoen, who says he will support Clinton should she run, believes she will wait as long as possible to make an announcement.
“She will try to get through the 2014 election and probably a good way through 2015 before she announces,” Schoen said.
“It makes sense for her to announce later rather earlier.”
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By Bill Hoffmann