The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Bush on the Record: Clinton Will Win Democratic Nod

Guess he can't just resist. No matter how much President Bush says he won't play "pundit-in-chief," he apparently has been telling anyone who will listen that he thinks Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) will win the Democratic presidential nomination. He's sending mixed signals, though, as to whether he thinks she will win the White House in November 2008.

As The Trail reported on Friday, Bush suggested to a group of network newscasters during an off-the-record lunch this month that he expects Clinton to win the nomination and, according to some in the room, he left the impression he thought she would win the election and succeed him as well. As he forecast that possibility, he suggested she would even continue his Iraq policy, citing the way Dwight D. Eisenhower effectively adopted Harry S. Truman's foreign policy after criticizing it during the 1952 campaign.

Now comes an on-the-record interview in which Bush has flatly predicted Clinton's nomination victory, although he is careful in speaking for the record to express confidence that the Republican nominee, whoever it turns out to be, will beat her in the fall next year.

"She's got a national presence and this is becoming a national primary," the president told Washington Examiner White House correspondent Bill Sammon for his new book, "The Evangelical President," which is out today. "And therefore the person with the national presence, who has got the ability to raise enough money to sustain an effort in a multiplicity of sites, has got a good chance to be nominated."

Bush made sure to add: "I think our candidate can beat her, but it's going to be a tough race. I will work to see to it that a Republican wins and therefore don't accept the premise that a Democrat will win."

At least on the record.

-- Peter Baker

Posted at 12:34 PM ET on Sep 24, 2007
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Hurray! Now, GWB has his own book for the NY Times Book Review.

Posted by: neeljune | September 24, 2007 8:57 PM

Well, that's that! Everything Bush ever said was the absolute, undeniable truth, wasn't it? Can't argue with someone who talks to Jesus, can you.

Posted by: thebobbob | September 24, 2007 5:49 PM

GWB is trying to rally the Evangelists by predicting (by the Chief Prognasticator?) that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, implying that she is a threat to his conservative base. All Democrats should take this as a SERIOUS WARNING, and ensure that we do not quibble over who the nominee is, but SIMPLY and TOTALLY SUPPORT OUR NOMINEE, whoever he or she may be.

Posted by: neeljune | September 24, 2007 3:02 PM

Peter Baker writes
"Now comes an on-the-record interview in which [President] Bush has flatly predicted Clinton's nomination victory"

Given the White House's track record in predicting the future, this is good news for Sen Clinton's competitors for the nomination...

Posted by: bsimon | September 24, 2007 1:54 PM

Bush won his nomination by establishing an air of inevitability.

He's now trying the same tactic on the republican's dream opponent, Hillary, whom he believes (with good reason) they are most likely to be able to beat in the general election.

Posted by: julieds | September 24, 2007 1:47 PM

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