September 24th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
12 years ago

Bush predicts Clinton will win Dem nomination

Bush is playing 'pundit-in-chief' on the 2008 White House race.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - He has previously said he would resist the temptation to weigh in on the 2008 White House race, but President Bush couldn't help sound off to a reporter on how he sees the contest to succeed him shaping up.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner's Bill Sammon for his new book, The Evangelical President, Bush predicts New York Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination but ultimately lose to his party's candidate in the general election.

"She's got a national presence, and this is becoming a national primary," he said in excerpts of the interview published in the newspaper's Monday edition. "And therefore the person with the national presence, who has got the ability to raise enough money to sustain an effort in a multiplicity of sites, has got a good chance to be nominated."

Bush also predicts a tough general election race, but said his party will ultimately win the White House.

"I think our candidate can beat her, but it's going to be a tough race," he said. "I will work to see to it that a Republican wins and therefore don't accept the premise that a Democrat will win. I truly think the Republicans will hold the White House."

Vice President Dick Cheney is less certain of Republican chances in 2008, according to the newspaper, telling Sammon he thinks the election "could go either way."

Meanwhile, a senior White House official tells Sammon that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton's chief competitor for the nomination, is "capable" of winning the White House, but has shown an "intellectual laziness."

Responding to the Obama criticisms, Jen Psaki, a spokesman for the Illinois senator, said, β€œI don't think that Democrats are all that receptive to this White House trying to grade the intellect of our candidates or pick the nominee of our party.”

The president's comments seem to contradict his pledge at a February press conference not to play "pundit-in-chief." But White House press secretary Dana Perino said Bush hasn't necessarily "changed his mind" when it comes to commenting on the 2008 race.

"I think he has run for president twice and won, and has been involved in politics from a very young age watching his father in Congress and then as president," she said in an off-camera briefing with reporters Monday morning. "He has a keen interest as do a lot of us here in Washington, and frankly, it's difficult to not talk about the '08 election. There's a lot of interest in it."

β€œThe bottom line is that it really doesn't matter what the president thinks about who will win the Democratic primary," Perino added. "There's going to be a showdown at the OK corral, and they'll figure out who's going to be the nominee, and from there the president will campaign vigorously for the Republican candidate, and he believes that Republicans will be able to keep the White House."

Perino also brushed aside the suggestion Bush's prediction is an attempt to excite the Republican base that is now in "malaise."

"I don't buy the premise that there's malaise among Republicans, and I don't know how any comment the president would make would motivate them one way or the other," she said. "I think they're going to participate in the process because they're interested and they care."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. SB, Maryland

    "Mission Accomplished"

    I'm not worried about George Bush and his predictions. Though this one does have the familiarity of a Karl Rove tactic to promote Hillary's campaign so that the republican candidate will indeed inhabit the White House.

    I prefer this quote:

    "In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it" Barack Obama

    Don't underestimate our love for our country George Bush.

    And BTW- I, too, am a democrat who will never, ever cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.

    September 24, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Keep in mind that President Cheyney's and Vice President Bush's comments were not "off the cuff" – they were calculated to help HRC win the nomination because of her "negative" ratings.

    Good news is they are not as "negative" as Vice President Bush's.

    September 24, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. John NC

    Hillary may get the nomination, but she has way too many negatives to get elected. She is really energizing the Republican base.

    September 24, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Mia

    Intellectually lazy? Obama graduated from Columbia University and Harvard. I don't take advice from the village idiots....

    September 24, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Ashley, Alberta, Canada

    First I would like to acknowledge that maybe as a Canadian my point of view may be mis-guided or that I may not be able to fully understand because I am not living in America;

    However from reading daily on CNN.com and being entirley facinated by American politics here is my take.

    It will be better for the nation when Bush is out of office.
    He has done nothing but push america further into debt,decimate an entire generation of young men (and women) and make a great nation a laughing stock on the world stage.

    No matter who wins the nominations and then the presidency will do a far better job then Bush has ever done.

    I only hope that once Bush is out of office that america can re-focus its energys and its funds on things like poverty; education, heathcare and making the world see America can mean hope and freedom once again.

    September 24, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    I agree with President Bush; Hillary will probably be the Democratic candidate for the 2008 presidential election.

    Wouldn't it be nice if political disent could be voiced without spewing immature personal attacks?

    September 24, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Bee

    What exactly does the senior white house correspondent mean by " Intellectual Laziness"? This is the most ridiculous comment i have ever hard from this white house.

    This is a racial comment of the highest order. I am sure Barack is smarter than both HRC and George Bush himself.

    September 24, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. MediaJunkie, Washington, DC

    Bush appears to be ignoring the fact that the GOP candidates want him to stay away, not "campaign vigorously for the Republican candidate."

    September 24, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. Anne in California

    The Republicans would like Hillary gets the nomination. If Obama gets it, that means the Republicians will have to pretend to care about miniorities and poor people.

    September 24, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Dennis, Fairfax, VA

    Sadly, the incompetent Bush has opened the door to the socialist Democrats in 2008 and beyond. In a generation the USA has moved from a democratic republic to a quasi-monarchy, with two families likely to control the White House for 28 years in a row and minimal turnover in Congress and most state legislatures. Some democracy.

    September 24, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Leigh S. Cambridge, MA

    Given the undeniable intellectual laziness of George W. Bush, the only reason I can see that a "Senior White House Official" would call Barack Obama "intellectually lazy" is to plant a seed with racist Americans (of which their are unfortunately many) who still might believe the old racist stereotype that black people are lazy. Putting "intellectually" in front of it is just their way of trying to distance themselves from that old stereotype. Remember, this is the political machine of Karl Rove. I am sure they are doing whatever they can as early as they can to manipulate the American public and begin tarnishing the characters and reputations of any Democrats who are real threats to Republicans holding on to the White House. They are despicable.

    September 24, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Scott, Cincinnati Ohio

    May God, Budha, Ala, and whoever else help us all if the republicans win anything ever again. They (the Republicans) want to tell you how to act, think, vote, and what church to go to. They are liars, cheats, and morally repugnant. I would sooner vote for a new form of government before I would support any of them ever again.

    September 24, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Scott, Madison, WI

    James in Phoenix. Du yu reely beleave that inteligents had anyting to do with all that? You really are naive!
    Try some critical thinking, dude.

    How's about a little lying, buying, cheating and stealing?

    September 24, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Linda George, Houston, TX

    Here comes GOP fearmongering tactics again for 2008. It was WMDs, Bin Laden, Al Queda in Iraq before and now Hillary! The republicans anyway are not going to vote for Hillary as they have some kind of vendatta against Clintons. The thinking of these voters are so backwards that they don't have any mind of their own, and they just blindly follow their leader who is a dismal failure and got this country into a big hole. But, patriotic americans who can think and have their own mind will vote democrats and bring peace and prosparity at home and earn respect from outsde US and get any of the democrats the white house.

    September 24, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Joe, San Diego, CA

    Boy, so much anger from the left-but never directed at the enemies, like the Iranian Prez or Bin Laden.
    Bush has his shortcomings, but he's a winner, has won two elections even though the media says he's a loser, etc. Grow up. And Hillary will win the nod because she has NO opponents worth their salt. Obama IS a novice and frankly, a lightweigh–and Edwards is the biggest hypocrite in DC. Of course, America will comes to its senses, know that our enemies quote directly from the American Left (Democrat) handbook, ala Ahmadenijad today, and vote for a moderate GOPer, keeping America and all the rich libs safe for another 4-8 years.

    September 24, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Scott, Orange, CA

    Someone in this administration is accusing a candidate of "intellectual laziness"?

    Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. You're black.

    September 24, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Erik

    Totally agree with Leigh S. Cambridge, MA

    September 24, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Andy, Charlotte, NC

    Forget Clinton...The only honest, intelligent person fit to be the president in '08 is Ron Paul!

    September 24, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. BettyD, USA

    Time for recess πŸ™‚

    Georgie Porgie
    Pudding and pie
    Kissed the Hill and made her cry
    When the boys came out to play
    Georgie Porgie ran away

    September 24, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. p.w.,millington md

    He hopes Clinton wins the Dem Nom so PNAC's bases will be covered either way.
    I will not vote for a Republican, "Democrat" or otherwise, if Kucinich doesn't get it I'll write his name in.

    I wonder how Bush will "help" the Rethugs win.

    September 24, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Rick - Burlington, Vermont

    The Fundamental Religious Right (Bush included), Rush, Hannity, etc media spokespeople are all trying to rally a focused attack on Hillary as part of their attempt to maintain their End-of-Time agenda. Scary group, all of 'em.

    September 24, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. James, Phoenix AZ

    Scott – Madison, Wi

    You wrote, "Du yu reely beleave that inteligents had anyting to do with all that? You really are naive!
    Try some critical thinking, dude."

    Scott – let's "du" some critical thinking. You (basically) think Bush is an idiot and I'm being naive. I guess ANY idiot could:

    1. Graduate from Yale
    2. Fighter Pilot with Air National Guard
    3. MBA from Harvard
    4. Defeated popular Texas Governor Ann Richards in 1994 to become Texas Govenor
    5. Re-elected Governor in 1998
    6. Defeated Al Gore in 2000 Presidential Election
    7. Re-elected President in 2004

    ANY idiot could do that! (eyes rolling)

    Scott, the naive one on this blog is the person who continues the "Bush stole the election" mantra.... but don't let facts get in your way.

    September 24, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. James, Olaya Street, Riyadh

    Ironic that all these people villifying the "intellectually lazy" quote cannot even construct an argument without resorting to personal abuse.

    September 24, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Luke Chicago, IL

    Democrat or Republican, I don't care. I will vote for the person that's going to do the best for the country, and that's how everyone should vote. This silly Democrat/Republican schism is killing the country, no wonder Washington was against political parties.

    September 24, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Bubba the Conspiracy Nut, Swainsboro GA

    Eunice, good heavens, you sound like you get all your facts from Herb down at the bait store. You can't blame Clinton for 9-11, even though you might have heard Herb say it was his fault; the terrorists hit us because we'd just failed to elect a president and had to appoint one. Either Gore or Bush would have been our shakiest president ever – they never had a better chance. We haven't been hit again because the president did what any president would have done! Maybe where you're from torture is routine; if America has ever stooped that low before we hid it in shame.

    But at least you've come out and said what's on your mind: you hate and fear all Muslims, and to you every Muslim is a 9-11 terrorist, and that's why you sound like all your information comes from Herb or Mert or your hairdresser Betty.

    September 24, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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