A serious battle for the Democratic presidential nomination is beginning to look more remote with President Barack Obama’s rebound in the polls. While a number of well-known challengers have bowed out, the potential exists for a challenge from the left and even
from the center should the president’s fortunes change.
Serious challengers such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean have already made clear they are not going to run. So far, only veteran anti-abortion activist Randall Terry has announced a bid for the Democratic nomination. According to CNN, Terry’
s goal is to raise awareness for his views on abortion and other social issues that are clearly not in sync with the Democratic Party.
However, potential challengers may be taking a wait-and-see attitude in the wake of the reaction to Obama’s response to the shooting in in Tucson that wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and killed six. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 78 percent of Americans, including 71 percent of Republicans, approved of his handling of the matter.
The poll showed his approval rating at 54 percent and a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed his approval rate was up 8 points to 53 percent and improving numbers with independents. The boosts in ratings follow improving economic statistics and his successes in pushing legislation through the lame duck Congress.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said on CNN's "State of the Union" that
he thought it “very unlikely that the president is going to face any kind of a serious primary challenge within the Democratic Party.
“You and I know that you can always get a fringe candidate or somebody to run,” he added. “So, you know, could somebody throw in their name? And, yes, it's possible. But I think the likelihood of any serious challenge to the president is virtually nil. And I think the president's strong performance and especially the three major accomplishments at the end of the year make it even smaller.”
However, it is yet to be seen how Obama will be viewed after the Republican-controlled House spends months chipping away at his agenda and successes. The House GOP has already voted to repeal his signature legislative accomplishment, Obamacare, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has promised to use his position as chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to examine Obama’s first two years in office with a focus on the $814 billion economic stimulus plan, the bank and auto bailout, on the healthcare measure.
It would not take much to nudge the likes of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, or Ralph Nader into a run for the presidency and falling poll numbers and dismal economic news could bring out other more credible challengers.
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