Patrick Buchanan says he sees some similarities between Hillary Clinton's pre-campaign strategy of lying low and that of Richard Nixon's political hiatus prior to his 1968 run for president.
"I see her more looking at the scene, asking, 'Why move now,'" the longtime Nixon aide and author of "The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority" tells CNN.
"I think that whole idea is absence makes the heart grow fonder."
And he says he isn't surprised Clinton – who as a young lawyer worked as an aide on the Nixon impeachment trial of the former president, CNN notes – has taken a page from the Nixon political playbook.
"What dictates the strategy is more the circumstance and the individual," Buchanan tells CNN. "This was not just a lark, this was thought though."
Clinton is eying a run for president in 2016, and confidants expect a campaign move in April, CNN reports.
Nixon's successful 1968 presidential bid also came after he pulled out of any political operations for about six months. In his book, Buchanan recalls the intrigue surrounding that decision.
Nixon, who had served a vice president for eight years but lost in the 1960 presidential election and the 1962 California gubernatorial race, was seen as the favorite to win the Republican nomination in 1968, even against strong competition from then Michigan Gov. George Romney.
So his announcement he was going to take a holiday from politics after the 1966 midterms was a shock, according to Buchanan.
"Is it really wise to cede the field to Romney and lock ourselves into a six-month moratorium with no flexibility," Buchanan recalls asking Nixon, who responded: "Let 'em chew on him for a little while."
"That is what he expected the press to do to George. Romney, and that is what the press did," Buchanan writes in his book, CNN reports. "The new year would prove an annus horribilis for the governor of Michigan."
Starting out a campaign in 1967 would risk the press and public looking for a "'fresh face.' Thus he would back away and not appear center stage as a candidate until more than a year later. ... It was a risky strategy and, judging by the results, a brilliant one," Buchanan writes.
Nixon would go on to narrowly win the 1968 election over Democrat Hubert Humphrey.
There are obvious differences as well – including that Clinton's toughest competition comes mostly from Republicans, CNN reports. So her hiatus doesn't help her overcome any critiques she's not a "fresh face."
"Quite simply, Clinton doesn't have a George Romney for the media to 'chew' on," CNN reports.
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