Republicans Fear Clinton in 2016

Republican leaders plotted their party's political comeback on Thursday with plans to court minority voters and modernize their political operations. But some wondered if one person could make it all for naught: Hillary Clinton.

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PETE MAROVICH / EPA

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 23, 2013.

HOLLYWOOD — Republican leaders plotted their party’s political comeback on Thursday with plans to court minority voters and modernize their political operations. But some wondered if one person could make it all for naught: Hillary Clinton.

As attendees of the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting debated party rules and a refurbished GOP brand capable of winning back the White House, more than two dozen operatives and officials expressed worry that none of their party’s potential 2016 candidates can take her down.

One early primary state RNC member put it simply: “If she gets in, we’re toast.”

To be sure, Clinton enjoyed a similar sense of inevitability in 2005, but Republicans say she looks more formidable this time around. “We thought we could beat her [in 2008] because she was seen as bitter and unlikeable — and that’s what Obama proved,” said one Republican operative at the meeting. But Clinton finished her tenure as Secretary of State with stratospheric approval ratings, has added four years of Cabinet-level foreign policy making to her resume, and appears far less likely to face a strong 2016 primary challenge like the one Obama mounted in 2007 and 2008. “We’re hoping she doesn’t run, because if she does, she’ll win,” said the same operative.

The Clinton fears have Republicans gearing up early for the 2016 campaign. America Rising, the new GOP super PAC founded by former RNC and Romney aides, has already begun digging up opposition research on Clinton, along with other potential Democratic candidates.

Overhearing discussions about Clinton in the hallway outside the RNC meeting, Jorge Landivar, a Ron Paul-backing delegate to the 2012 Republican convention from Texas, chimed in: “All the polls say she will destroy anyone that we put up — it’s [f---ng] terrifying.”  National polling from Quinnipiac University finds that Clinton, the most popular national political figure, would defeat  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 45 – 37 percent; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio 50 – 34 percent and Rep. Paul Ryan 50 – 38 percent.

Ron Kaufman, the RNC committeeman from Massachusetts and a senior Romney campaign advisor, acknowledged that Clinton looks as powerful as a sitting president. But he cautioned Republicans to remember how quickly the political winds can shift. “Right now she is the closest thing you’ll get to an incumbent in an open race,” said Kaufman, who served as George H. W. Bush’s White House political director. “But at this time in the cycle, Bush 41 was unbeatable.”

Indeed, Republicans here took some hope in Clinton’s stunning 2008 collapse, when her political machine seemed to fall apart under the pressure of Obama’s challenge. Some suggested she was ill-served by top advisors whom they hope will return to her side with unintended results. “I hope she picks Mark Penn”–her longtime pollster and close advisor–“to run her campaign again,” said one swing-state state chair who was loath to share his defeatist attitude publicly. “Because even some Republicans will give her a second chance.”

On the record, Republican leaders are more on message. Rhode Island committeeman Steve Frias argued Clinton will be battling strong political headwinds. “It’s rare to have one party in power for 12 years,” he said. “There are a lot of people who will be tired of Obama.”

But the perception of Clinton as more moderate than Obama is another component of the GOP’s Hillary fear, especially as the party struggles to boost its appeal to liberal-minded minorities and young voters. One state chair described the GOP’s annual meeting as less about winning and more about fighting to remain a credible alternative to the Democratic Party. “We can’t even think about winning until we stop losing voters every cycle,” he said.

And one former Romney aide here warned that grassroots activists pushing for an even more conservative GOP identity could seal the party’s fate: “If we listen to some of the people here and come back with a hardline conservative in 2016, she’ll wipe the floor with us.”

586 comments
UofconnHarassment
UofconnHarassment

i dont see why they would fear her.  her and her husband are republicans.

GregPatnude
GregPatnude

Get real... she's ridiculous and so is the entire concept of Hillary as president ... she is already having fainting spells and strokes ... and the LAST think America needs is another fascist-leftist-socialist with an agenda of social reform, big government, and erosion of your civil rights ...  

Please America... It's time to tell the Clinton's "... Thank you for your service, but we need constitutionalists and protectionists to represent us not bleeding heart liberals..." 

Thanks but no thanks Ms. Clinton. The same goes for your daughter ...  
 

gingerman
gingerman

AS good as Hillary seems to be I'd rather see Elizabeth Warren run for President

jmkcfoh
jmkcfoh

Sorry pal, per Department of Labor stat, less people working today then when President Obama took office. Simple fact 200,000 new jobs per month, on a good month for this administration is not going to replace those lost.

Bud Man
Bud Man

She is hiding the truth about Benghazi. Don't want anyone who has such disregard for American citizens as President.

BobFedak
BobFedak

What has that woman ever done? Nothing good. Lost an election to a nobody incompetent from Chicago. And the 1 job given her, to repay the campaining by Bubba, she screwed up & left 4 Americans dead! SHE IS JUST A FAILURE & MORALLY BANKRUPT..

samba771_hall
samba771_hall

@TIME aa prayer for the health and safety of Hillary Clinton. Are there still any Republicansout there.

CarrolUnderwood
CarrolUnderwood

Your damned right they are afraid. There is no one in EITHER party that could beat her.

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

I don't think she will run.

I think she is too smart for that!

At about 70 (2016) who wants that kind of headache?

gemguy2
gemguy2

Yes. I agree with the GOP assesment. If Hillary runs, then the GOP is toast. They have no one to blame but them selves. They totally screwed our country and they are soo desperate to win back control. Ain't going to happen for a long long time.

allenwoll
allenwoll

.

The most potent threat to the GoP is the GoP itself  ! ! ! 

.

It is time to pull the block ! ! 

.


.

Darth'sdaughter
Darth'sdaughter

I am personally voting for the candidate who can keep the money on the table, not under it, shut back door banking, and the candidate who does NOT provide political gifts in the way of clean your plate free cars, trucks, etc., etc. which provided the rest of the country with a ta x hike!

AdamRussell
AdamRussell

Another point in her favor is that she has Bill Clinton in her back pocket.

mitzymoon
mitzymoon

Republicants: Save your money. There isn't anyone you'll donate to who can beat Clinton.

captainkona
captainkona

" Clinton finished her tenure as Secretary of State with stratospheric approval ratings,"

According to who? Name two significant victories in international diplomacy during Clinton's tenure. Just two.

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

@Bud Man Benghazi? You're still flogging the Benghazi horse? This is the face of the "New" GOP:  Paranoia; fear; and antiquated views on...everything. Have fun out in the hinterlands of the next few elections. 

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@BobFedak Still beatin that Benghazi thing huh? The bottom line is .... they were TOLD to leave and they decided to stay. If you are TOLD not to run across the highway and you decide to do it anyway, guess what, it's your fault! No one else.

BrianMathies
BrianMathies

@gemguy2 I think the GOP is toast anyway. They can't even win if the economy is lousy. What are they going to do when the economy picks up?

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

@Libtards-UNITE  Her most likely opponent, Chris Christie, will not be admired for his great looks.  At least Hillary has age to blame.  How many "hot" 70 year old women are there?

glennra3
glennra3

@Libtards-UNITE 


The curse of the Double-X chromosome.  It doesn't matter how successful, talented, or hard-working you are.  Women still get judged on their looks.  


As the saying goes, women have to work twice as hard to be considered half as successful as men.


Luckily, this is not difficult.

glennra3
glennra3

@captainkona 

The comment was about her approval ratings (69% when she left office as Sec. of State), not her accomplishments, which you must acknowledge completely eclipse those of George W. Bush when he was running for president.


TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@glennra3   Sexist much?

She's getting older, she was pretty hot back in the day!

But don't lump all men together.

captainkona
captainkona

@glennra3@captainkona 

Shrub has nothing to do with this. I want to know what she did as Senior Diplomat to solicit "stratospheric approval ratings".

glennra3
glennra3

@TroyOwen @rfdgskj

I was paraphrasing Canadian feminist and former mayor of Ottawa Charlotte Whitton.


It is called humor.




rfdgskj
rfdgskj

@rfdgskj ok, I took that as some whistling in the dark not the statement that all men are lazy. but you get to chose what offends you I guess

TroyOwen
TroyOwen

@rfdgskj@TroyOwen No it was this  ...... "As the saying goes, women have to work twice as hard to be considered half as successful as men. Luckily, this is not difficult." .... pretty sexist to me.

rfdgskj
rfdgskj

@TroyOwen oh wait, I think I see, you seem to think that glennra3 is saying that men judge women according to their looks. Women are just as guilty of judging other women by appearance so calling that out is hardly sexist.

TRUTHvGOP
TRUTHvGOP

@captainkona @glennra3 What Clinton did or did not do has no bearing on the fact that she finished her term in office with stratospheric approval ratings. Like it or not, it is a fact with which you have to deal. Get used to it. The way you guys hate saying "President Obama", you are REALLY going to hate saying "President Hillary Clinton" - almost as much as you hate saying "President Bill Clinton." It just keeps getting worse and worse of the loser GOP and its infantile narcissism over far right agendas.