The media is done with treating Hillary Clinton with kid gloves, according to Ed Rollins, national campaign director for the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign.
"She's now being looked at as a candidate, not as someone who's the former first lady or the former secretary of state and candidates are treated more harshly,'' Rollins told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
Rollins said that since first entering the presidential arena as a candidate against Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton has become an effective communicator.
"Running for office is just like any other athletic endeavor. You basically have to be continually getting stronger and more effective. We forget that she wasn't a very good candidate initially,'' Rollins said.
"She became a very strong candidate by the end of her battle with Obama, probably a much stronger candidate than he was in the end. [But] by then it was too late.''
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Still, if Clinton does run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, she shouldn't expect an easier time of it, Rollins believes.
"She's been out of practice for a long time and my sense she's now not being treated as a sacred cow, she's being treated now obviously as a candidate who's going to be asked tough questions,'' he said.
"She'd better get practice or she's going to basically diminish herself very quickly.''
Rollins, a Republican campaign consultant and advisor, doesn't expect Clinton's new memoir "Hard Choices,''
published by Simon & Schuster, to help her brand much.
"She's now going to get into the grime and she pulled the trigger with the book here. It's not going to be a love fest,'' Rollins said.
"The book got terrible reviews by anybody who was looking for a serious book and to a certain extent she'll get pushed around by the media when she's out on the trail a little bit.
"There's a lot of Democrats and there's certainly a lot of Republicans that don't want to see another Clinton in the White House and she's going to face that scrutiny much quicker than she ever thought she was.''
Rollins also weighed in on Eric Cantor's stunning Virginia primary loss to little-known college professor Dave Brat, which led to Cantor's resignation as House majority leader.
"Cantor kind of lost touch with his district in spite of his claim that he spent a lot of time there," Rollins said.
"When you're 90 minutes away from Washington, D.C. you sort of watch closely and you expect your congressman to be there….
"Equally as important, he tried to redefine the party. He and [House Speaker [John] Boehner both talked about immigration when no one in their caucus wants to move an immigration bill forward and that had an impact.''
Rollins said Cantor had no choice but to resign as majority leader, despite some calls for him to stay on to prevent a distracting GOP scramble for his seat.
"The majority leader post is very, very important post, raising money for the candidates in the fall campaign and certainly a lot of the lobbying community and others who give money to candidates weren't going to give someone that's a lame duck,'' he said.
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