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Hillary’s VP Option
Christopher Ruddy
Monday Nov. 24, 2003
Nobody believes me, but Hillary Clinton would be more than willing to be the Democrat’s vice presidential nominee in 2004.
I have little doubt Hillary wants to run in 2004, not 2008 as her friends claim.

But the date, November 21, has already passed for Hillary to register for the New Hampshire primary. The likelihood is that one candidate – not Hillary and probably Dean – will emerge as the Democratic candidate by the time of the South Carolina primary on February 3rd.

So how can Hillary achieve her lifelong dream?

Hillary’s stealth Vice Presidential strategy works like a charm.

This allows Hillary to wait until July of 2004 when the Democrats meet for their convention in Boston. By then, she’ll have a pretty good idea if Bush has the election locked up and whether she should join the ticket.

Today, Bush’s re-election is not clear, but the economy appears to be coming back.

If the economy staggers, or if another 9/11 style terror attack happens, Bush could suffer. Hillary may then see the Democrats have a clear shot of winning the White House.

At the convention, she can make her grab for the VP slot.

For one thing, the Democratic nominee will have no choice but to select her.

As Dick Morris has pointed out, Hillary and Bill have already created soft money political entities outside the control of the Democratic Party that they and their operatives control.

These funds will have coffers in the hundreds of millions (and, no I don’t think they are raising this money for 2008), far more than the Democratic party itself has.

Already top aides to Bill and Hillary have been orchestrating the campaign of Wesley Clark. The purpose of the Clark effort, and the Clinton’s backing for it, is not clear. The real agenda may be to get Hillary and her operatives into the presidential race early, without showing her own flag.

The beauty of Hillary’s VP strategy is that she doesn’t have to run. She can simply wait until almost the last minute before deciding.

If she does take the VP slot, she avoids all of the scrutiny her scandal ridden past would have inspired during the bruising Democratic primaries.

For sure, as a presidential candidate Hillary would have become the primary target of her Democratic opponents - who dislike her as much as the Republicans.

Today, Hillary is the star of the party. If she announced her White House intention she would be the immediate frontrunner.

She would also become an instant lightning rod.

If she waits and considers the vice presidential option, Hillary won’t attract the same degree of attention and “flack” as the presidential nominee.

If Hillary joins the Democrat ticket and it loses in 2004, Hillary and her spin doctors in the media can immediately blame the loss on the Presidential nominee, not her.

Her friends will anoint her the heir apparent for the nomination in 2008. (I can already imagine Jonathan Alter writing this in Newsweek the week after the 2004 election: “Howard Dean’s far left candidacy brought the Democrats to defeat. It’s a bitter lesson for the Democrats. The silver-lining of this election was Hillary Clinton, who has demonstrated political moderation in the Senate and as a VP candidate brought charisma and enthusiasm to the race. She is the logical nominee next time . . . ”)

Suppose, on the other hand, the Democrats win next year and Hillary becomes Vice President. Hillary immediately becomes the most powerful women in American politics and perhaps the most powerful vice president in history.

And at that point in time, Vice President Rodham Clinton will be just steps away from the Oval Office and a proverbial heart beat away from the top job. Anything could happen.
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