The prospect that Rick Perry and Mitt Romney might battle it out until June for the Republican nomination for president could be good for the victor and for the GOP, longtime respected Democratic strategist Terry McAuliffe tells Newsmax.TV.
McAuliffe, who ran Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, said Texas Gov. Perry is currently the frontrunner and is well-positioned to raise money and fits the “yearning on the Republican side for something new.”
“But I do think it’s down to Perry and Romney today, I think it will be good match,” the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee said in an exclusive Newsmax interview.
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“I can also make the argument to you that the two of them going after each other through the entire primaries is not bad for the Republican Party. Hillary and Barack Obama went right ’till June . . . built up our organizations in all 50 states and I think they both became better candidates though the process so I can argue having an extended process could be good for them.”
McAuliffe was interviewed at the 10th annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Thursday just hours before the GOP debate
took place in Orlando, Fla. The event brings together heads of state, business leaders, humanitarians, and celebrities to work on solutions to world problems.
McAuliffe, who made his own try for elective office when he ran for governor of Virginia in 2009, said Romney, with his pro-business message, would be a very formidable general election candidate. However, he expressed confidence that President Obama will be re-elected. He said that when he co-chaired President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign, his numbers were similar to or worse than Obama’s, as were Ronald Reagan’s.
The public still likes Obama personally, said McAuliffe, who also acknowledged that “this is going to be a very close race. It will probably come to a basket of seven or eight states.” One thing in Obama’s favor is that he will not face a primary challenge, he said.
“Zero,” McAuliffe said when asked about the chances a Democratic challenger would emerge. “No chance at all. I know some of the press likes to ask about Hillary, zero chance. That’s one huge advantage we have.”
On other issues, McAuliffe said:
- Hillary Clinton is unlikely to run for president in 2016. “If you talked to her about that, she’d probably throw you out the window,” he quipped.
- His advice to the Obama campaign: “Keep their focus on jobs.” “He’s got a plan, and I haven’t’ seen the GOP come up with any plan on their own. You can’t just keep saying, no, no, no.”
- The recent Democratic loss in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District is not much a predictor for what might happen in 2012. Democrats also have taken seats from Republicans, he said.
- Control of the House and the Senate “is all going to come down to, I believe, who is the Republican nominee and what is the message. That can either make or break the Republican Party.”
- His work in green technology ventures, including as chairman of GreenTech Automotive, which is developing electric cars, brought home the importance of keeping such jobs in America. “Let’s not go from an economy from where we get our oil from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to 20 years from today where we’re buying our turbines and panels from Germany and China. It’s not good for America, let’s make it here.”
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