Bush on the Record:
Clinton Will Win
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
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