Hillary's Friends Not Sure She Should Seek Presidency

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Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 11:42 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Many of Hillary Clinton's closest friends and advisers aren't so sure she should seek the presidential nomination in 2016, despite the growing number of polls and activists who say her candidacy is a sure win for the Democratic Party.

Some are concerned that a campaign would test Clinton's health and stamina as she approaches her late 60s and would remove her from the causes she holds dear, such as women's empowerment and childhood development, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

Still others worry that a campaign could revive some of the scandals from her husband's presidency that could prove painful. One potential Republican candidate, Rand Paul, is resurrecting the Monica Lewinsky affair from nearly 20 years ago, and others will likely follow suit as the 2016 campaign heats up.

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She also will likely face tough questions about her own past, including personal finances raised during former President Bill Clinton's first term and her reaction to the Benghazi, Libya, terror attacks while she was secretary of state.

One of Clinton's top advisers and friends, Cheryl Mills, who represented Bill Clinton in his Senate impeachment trial and served as Hillary's chief of staff at the State Department and counsel to her presidential campaign in 2008, has told at least three people she should not run, the Journal reports.

Mills would not comment on the rumored statements or confirm them, nor would Clinton's office.

Longtime Clinton friend and television producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who made films for both Clintons' political campaigns, said she wants Hillary to do what makes her happy, but added she's in the "friends camp," which "definitely has concerns about her running."

Many others near Clinton say she is determined to become the nation's first female president, among other reasons for running. Clinton is aiming efforts at the young and minority voters who would help her get elected, and keeps a schedule that puts her in contact with Democratic figures that would back a campaign, with several groups already organizing and raising money for her race.

Mike McCurry, a press secretary in her husband's administration, said many people surrounding Clinton are ambivalent about her running for office again.

The commitment means "giving up two and a half years of your life when you're moving on up into your 60s, so that you can crawl around coffee shops in Iowa and New Hampshire," said McCurry, and he jokes with people that he's the "last man in Washington" willing to bet she won't run.

Age will also be an issue with Clinton. She'll turn 69 on Election Day, being just eight months younger than late President Ronald Reagan when he assumed office in 1980 as the oldest elected president.

"There's a fatigue and a physical demand that she has to consider," said former Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle, who was one of Clinton's colleagues in the Senate. "She's much older than she was 20 years ago, when her husband first started, so there are a lot of personal considerations to take into account."

Clinton's friends may also have concerns from her health scare in 2012, when she was hospitalized for a blood clot in her head.

If Clinton bows out, some Democrats fear the party is not prepared for the 2016 election, as her possible run has made it difficult for other Democrats to mount their own campaigns.

Her history, though, may backfire, as many Americans are interested in seeing new faces in government.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who is considering his own Democratic run, said the idea of choosing presidents from "elite families" is becoming "repugnant to a lot of Americans.''

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