Could 2016 be a 2008 redux for Hillary Clinton? If David Axelrod’s claims come true, it will not.
In a Wednesday interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Axelrod, the former adviser to President Obama, explained that Hillary Clinton will not succumb to a challenge from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has become a darling of the left-wing.
“Can Elizabeth Warren beat her?” Hewitt asked.
“My strong feeling is she’s not going to run. I think she’s trying to influence the direction of the party, and you have more influence as a potential candidate than you do if you take yourself out,” Axelrod began. “So she’s allowing, she’s sticking to this language of I’m not running for president, and titillating people with it, because it gives her more leverage.”
“I don’t think she would beat her. I have high regard for Elizabeth. I don’t think she would beat her,” Axelrod said flatly. “Look, look at the polling, Hugh. Hillary is probably as well-positioned within her own party as any open seat candidate has been in our lifetime. And you know, she’s going to have to go out and work for it.”
“If she assumes anything and doesn’t go out and work for it, and earn it, and make her case and present her, a rationale for a candidacy that resonates with people, then anybody is vulnerable under those circumstances,” Axlerod said. “But you know, I know the team she’s assembling. I have a high regard for them. I have some sense of the kind of thinking she’s doing. I think she’s going to come out of the gate very strong.”
Axelrod’s comments come after a poll conducted by YouGov and MoveOn.org shows the Massachusetts senator leading the former secretary of state in both Iowa and New Hampshire among likely Democratic voters. (RELATED: New Poll Finds Warren Beating Hillary In Iowa And New Hampshire)
“But then…you’re saying that Elizabeth Warren is not the candidate that Barack Obama was, because Barack Obama was in the same position vis-à-vis Hillary in 2007, and he beat Hillary,” Hewitt continued. “And you’re saying Elizabeth Warren couldn’t beat Hillary?”
“No, what I’m saying is that 2007 was, is not 2015 or ’16. There was a dominant issue within the Democratic Party in 2007 and 2008, and that was the war in Iraq,” Axelrod explained. “Obama had opposed it, Hillary had voted for it. That gave him an enormous edge in the race.”
“This is a different time,” Axlerod told Hewitt. “And so there isn’t that kind of galvanizing issue, particularly if Hillary comes out of the box, as I expect she will, talking very clearly about how to buttress the middle class, how to create greater opportunity, how to restore the value that says if you work hard in this country, you can get ahead.”