Democrats are beginning to unite in support of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president in 2016, says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Asked by USA Today
in an interview whether Democrats are "coalescing" around the former secretary of state, Pelosi said, "I think so. There's a great deal of excitement about the prospect that she would run."
Pelosi said Clinton should make another run for the White House.
"I don't know why she wouldn't run," the California Democrat said. "She's prepared. She's well-known. She's highly respected. She knows she could do the job very, very well."
Clinton is "well prepared" to serve as commander-in-chief, given her experience as first lady, as a New York senator, including membership on the Armed Services Committee, and as head of the State Department, Pelosi said.
"If Secretary Clinton were to run — and we think if she ran, she would win — I believe that she would be the best-prepared person to enter the White House in decades, with all due respect to her husband, present company and other presidents," Pelosi said.
But she stopped short of endorsing Clinton. "I'm not making endorsements right now, because I don't think that's appropriate," she said. "But I am gauging. I'm encouraging people to think about it, so in case she asks us, we have something to say to her."
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As House speaker in 2008, Pelosi was officially neutral in the presidential primary contest between Clinton and Barack Obama.
But the Clinton campaign was upset with Pelosi after she said it would be "harmful" for unelected "superdelegates" at the national convention to sway the outcome. At that point it appeared that superdelegate support was the only chance Clinton had to win the nomination, USA Today reported.
Recent polls show Clinton far ahead of potential Democratic rivals for the 2016 nomination. A Quinnipiac University survey
conducted April 25-29, put Clinton's support at 65 percent among Democratic voters, compared to 13 percent for Vice President Joe Biden, 4 percent for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and 1 percent or less for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.
But Clinton has been slipping lately in polls against Republicans. For example, a Fox News poll
of 1,012 voters conducted June 22-24 shows that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's popularity is rising while Clinton's is slipping.
In the survey, 46 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Christie, up from 30 percent in August 2012. Meanwhile, Clinton has a favorable rating of 56 percent, down from 63 percent in August 2012.
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