September 24th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
13 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, “I 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."

“The 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. RightyTighty

    Ha Ha!

    September 24, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Dan, TX

    HA HA HA! That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

    Let's take the fact that Obama is the most intellectually gifted of all the candidates, turn it on its head, and throw out a term like "intellectual laziness" and hope it sticks – maybe if the masses are "intellectually lazy" enough, they will actually take it seriously. It is an insult to all Americans.

    September 24, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Kate, Flint

    Looks like Bush is wrong as usual!!

    Hillary winning would be a Republican dream!

    America, read beyond the headlines - don't let the popular press and the President (who mangled our foreign relations) continue to decide for you! Obama is the intelligent and STRONG choice for 2008!

    OBAMA 08!!

    September 24, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Solid, Normal, IL

    "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."

    Hoo boy, that's really, really, really rich. A White House official, whose figurehead cannot complete a coherent sentence, calls a former law professor intellectually lazy.

    You can tell Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove and the rest of the Republican good old boys really want Hillary to get the nomination. But the problem is, Hillary is Republican-lite, so we'll get more of the same crap for another four years at least.

    Don't fall for it kids.

    September 24, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Fatima Muhammad Chicago IL

    Where is this so-called health insurance for poor children? I make 30,000 a year my health insurance cost is 15% percent of my income.(4,500.00) not to mention the co-pays and out of pocket expenses.

    September 24, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Stephen

    Bush was good a predicting those WMDs, Saddam and Al-Qaida working together, and the Republicans keeping Congress in 2006.

    We can't take much of what he says at face value

    September 24, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    The Decider has spoken. Now let's impeach him and Cheney before they attack Iran, then make it a TOP national priority to insure that the elections are not rigged a third consecutive time.

    September 24, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Chris Wilson, Greenfield, Indiana

    Bush is accusing someone else of intellectual laziness?

    September 24, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Kerry, Lexington MA

    Hillary has virtually no political experience. Being a governor's wife and a president's wife is of course NOT even close to being the same as being a governor or a president. It's wonderful (I type that sarcastically) that she get's so much media attention because she's a woman riding her husband's coattails, but the best qualified ... give me a break. What has she done in her few years in the Senate? Let's talk about that!

    September 24, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Glenda McEwen, TN

    Thank you Mr. President, you have now cost Senator Clinton the nomination she deserves to win. So many people despise you and your administration right now that they will do the opposite of anything you say. But voting for Obama is not in this country's best interest, trust me. Showing the Republican's what you think of the last eight years is electing a Democrat to this country's highest office and that should be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has the experience, she has the diplomacy, she helps everyone regardless of race (check out the difference in her church and Obama's), and she is a woman with drive, courage and conviction to run this country and make it respected once again. John Edwards biggest flaw is his wife. Some things that come from her mouth are over the line and that turned me off from him. But I have the true Audacity to Hope that a woman will lead this country beginning January 2009. Show the world Hillary what a woman with brains can do!!!!

    September 24, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. C. Mass, Washington D.C.

    WOW...them there were fightin' words.

    Accusing an elitist liberal of "intellectual laziness" is like telling a conservative card carrying member of the NRA they can't shoot straight.

    The GOP probably hopes Billary wins the nomination...she is the only other person besides Bush who can so polarize the nation.

    September 24, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    George W. Bush always did have a keen grasp of the obvious.

    This is going to be a case of history repeating itself.

    The country elected the first Clinton to clean up the mess made by Bush's daddy and it looks to me like they'll elect another Clinton to try and repair the damage done to this country by the Bush 43.

    Personally I don't think she can do it.

    I am not certain anyone can.

    September 24, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Ethan, Brooklyn, NY

    Bush calling ANYONE over the age of 4 intellectually lazy is totally outrageous. Hillary sounded Presidential on the talk shows yesterday, and that's not just me saying that but even Right Wing idiots like David Brooks. She is unbeatable and deserves to be President based on her inordinate knowledge of policy both domestic and international AND her drive to POSITIVELY govern this (currently) rudderless country. I hope Obama is her VP. The USA needs him in a high position as well.

    September 24, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. J.Crobuzon

    Like he knows anything about politics! When was he last correct about anything?

    September 24, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. Neil Kelly Stafford, Virginia

    I really wish we could amend the constitution to allow Bush to remain in office for another 4 years. He is by far the best President since Ronald Reagan and since we are a nation at war, we need a stong commander-in-chief and military mind like George W. Bush.

    Until this war against Islamo-fascism is over, I think we need to have a Republican in power even if that means temporarily doing away with elections until we beat the terrorists. (just like FDR and Abe Lincoln did)

    If Democrats come to power, it will only be a matter of time before we will all be speaking Muslim and saluting the USSR flag!

    September 24, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. William G. Gainesville, FL

    Who even cares whatv President Bush has to say about this, or any other issue for that matter? He is an idiot, and I do not understand why he would even be commenting on who he predicts will win the Democratic nomination. Maybe he should focus more on leading this country and less on the Democratic Party.

    Bush is a coward and a liar.

    September 24, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Frankie, New Orleans, LA

    Bush also said that Africa was a country. Stay out of this Georgie!

    September 24, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Michael S. Columbus, IN

    Apparently Pres. Bush believes people still listen to him. NewsFlash: We stopped listening a long time ago.

    September 24, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. USA

    How would Bush know? Unless he plans on pulling some type of Florida voting shenanigan, for yet a third time, with that state's Democratic Party and, possibly, giving Hilary the votes that may put give her the nomination.

    September 24, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Kim, Sacramento, cA

    Bush and his Administration are an absolute embarassment to this country – the sooner they are out of office the better!

    But, I do have to say WAKE UP to my fellow Democrats who are supporting Hillary. There is a reason that the Republicans are pushing so hard to see that she is the nominee – they will beat her. Nothing will promote a record turnout by Republicans like a Clinton nomination. This will trickle down to other offices and the Republicans will likely take over control of both houses and make gains in state offices. I like Hillary but she cannot win.

    Obama is the choice here – he will win in a landslide if he gets the nomination.

    September 24, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Aaron

    Republicans calling Obama "intellectually lazy" is like Paris Hilton calling Mother Teresa a skank.

    September 24, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Felifar1 Indianapolis, IN

    I have have supported democrat nominees in the last three elections since turning 18 in 1993. If Hillary gets the nomination, I will vote republican for the first time in my life.

    September 24, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Neil, your tinfoil hat is on sideways. Bush a good president? Ha ha ha laff laff rotfl. This nation will never ecover from the Divider, and your hateful and stupid remarks illustrate exactly how and why Dubya broke our democracy. Speaking Muslim? It's a religion, not a language. Saluting the USSR flag? Kid, the USSR broke up in the Eighties. Does your mom know you're skipping school and using her computer?

    September 24, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Wow virginia has some real winners huh?"talking muslim and saluting the USSR flag" really shows how uneducated you have to be in order to support this moron.No wonder republicans want to abolish education,it's their last hope.

    September 24, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. J.Crobuzon

    I wish we could amend the Constitution to allow Bush to be kicked hard in the butt for jacking this country around so bad. Suspend free elections? I thought we already had . . .

    September 24, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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