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. Aaron, Savannah, GA

    Bush is stating what is already evident fact by polling.

    Clinton is currently in a commanding lead within polling.

    What else is there really to argue at this point. A whole year has yet to unfold before a general election.

    I will vote for Hillary Clinton as our next President.

    September 24, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. J. McKinney SW MO

    You people who are commenting on Bush predicting Hillary will win the primary because he wants her to win so the dems get beat again. Come on! He is predicting she will win because she is ahead by double numbers in almost every poll out there. And she was brilliant in the 5 TV interviews yesterday (Sun.) Unless something goes terribly wrong, she has it made in the Primary, and unless someone shows up with more "stuff" in them than has so far in the Repubs., (and I don't mean Thompson or Newt) she has the general made, also. I hope and pray she does, we need her to clean up this mess. Go. Hillary!!

    September 24, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. Will Smith, Florida, MA if he previously said he would refrain but is now commenting...I guess that means......he lied...

    September 24, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. RJ, SV, AZ

    If you don't want Hillary to win then stop paying attention to all these useless polls presented by the media. It almost seems like people hear such-and-such candidate is ahead and therefore they must vote for them. Maybe do your own reason and use your own brains for a change...

    September 24, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Randy S., Lawton, OK

    To N.K. Stafford
    What alternate history book have you been reading. FDR and Abe Lincoln did not "do away" with elections. That has never happened and cannot happen in this country. Buy a copy of the constitution and inform yourself a little bit before spouting off. It's better to remain silent and be thought an idiot, then open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    September 24, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Charlotte, NC

    Suprising that Bush would have the nerve to accuse someone of intellectual laziness.

    September 24, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Sean Hagen Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania


    #1. Donate to
    #2. Subscribe to the Dailykos.
    #3. Blame America and Israel for the all world's ills.
    #4. Praise the wonderful leaders of Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and The Taliban for the wonderful way they treat their people and their neighbors.

    September 24, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Malcolm M.

    How in the world could someone who works for the present administraction even think of using the words "intellectual laziness"? that in and of itself is a joke.

    September 24, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Ed, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Hey Neil Kelly...

    Muslim is a religion and not a language. Anyone who would want to do away with the voting rights given to us by the Constitution deserves to be locked away with George Bush. He can be your commander-in-chief in your own private looney bin.

    If most republicans have your intellect, then the dems will have no problem in 2008.

    September 24, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. Tom Dennis, Mt Pleasant, MI

    Intellectual laziness?? That takes some stones...considering intellectual absentness has been the Bush Administration's milieu.

    September 24, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |

    Neil Kelly Stafford, Virginia

    You just hit the nail on the head. You are very smart. I have said this before that history will prove George Bush to be the greatest President America ever had. People are judging him out of sentiments. But he is so decisive and strong and that is the kind of person America needs in this presenst world of Islamic Fascism. The only language they understand is force. They thrive on blood flow and someone has to stop them. A democrat can not do that. We are in trouble if a democrat wins this election. No body likes war but sometimes, it becomes inevitable. America would have been attacked several times after 9/11 if not for God and then the kind of President we have.

    George Bush is absolutely right about the election predictions and people can say all they want.

    September 24, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Luis, Miami Florida

    He's just using the regular GOP play book of scare tactics. The man has to rally up the base since he personally has done some much damage to the GOP and the republicans are not exited about this election not like the Democrats. It’s like it has Mr. Rove’s finger tips all over it….

    September 24, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Bobby Williamsburg, VA

    We are still awhile away from Super Duper Tuesday, and I am a believer that the candidates who aren't high in the polls now will be and will have the potential to win the nomination.

    It scares me that President Bush said basically he will make sure that the Republicans win the White House, this reminds me when he said, in 2000, "I guarantee we will win Florida". I tend to lean towards the Democratic party, however, whichever party wins, I would just like to know that the outcome of the election was fair.

    I'd like to vote in someone who isn't a minority, then when and if the Democrats get a good streak of winning elections we can take our chances with a minority.

    Democrats cannot afford to lose this election.

    September 24, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Linda, Wentzville, Missouri

    Neil – the USSR no longer exists. And you think we should do away with elections? Which White House office do you work for?

    September 24, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    Well there goes another foolish attempt to try to "scare" the republican base into picking an electable candidate from the current list of flip flops and mayoral has-beens. The tactic is simple, scare your base into going out and voting against a percieved threat. But so far, no one is biting.

    The Christian Coalition is finally realizing that the GOP isn't as moral as they thought. And the fiscally conservative base is finding that the GOP politicians are corrupt as they are morally bankrupt. Independents are likely to make out better this coming election with the Democrats coming in close second. But the GOP has an incredible crisis in their ranks that is making them totally unelectable. Until they clean house and reformulate their platform they will be losing much more than the White House next year. They will firmly lose both the House and the Senate.

    Whose fault is it? Bush to a large degree. But the field of GOP political failures is pretty wide so Bush is not alone in bringing down the GOP.

    By the way, Neil Kelly Stafford, Virginia...Stop drinking the local moon shine.

    Telling it like I see it,

    September 24, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Tom, Anaheim, CA

    I don't think Bush will relinquish power in 2009. I think he will attack Iran mid to late 2008, declare martial law and postpone the election.

    The war criminal duo of Bush/Cheney DO NOT care about elections or the Constitution. Elections are there to be rigged or suspended.

    September 24, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Ed, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Hey Eunice, Maryland...

    If you think Neil Kelly of Virginia is smart, then I would hate to know who you think is stupid.

    September 24, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Bob, Chicago, IL

    Are you kidding me? The White House think Obama has shown an intellectual laziness? Wow...this coming from the administration whose memoirs will likely be written in crayon on the back of a Denny's kid's menu.

    September 24, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Northern, California

    First let me stop laughing, remember this guy is an idiot. This is the same person that said that we have
    WMD and the war in Iraq was over. And lets not forget his overwhelming approval rating with his own country and the joke he is to the international community. He knows that if Hillary recieves the nomination then the Republicans will have a better chance at the Presidency than the Democrats. To this is say – Obama in 08

    September 24, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |

    Ed, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I can tell you now. Anyone that think George Bush has not served this country well since after 9/11 is.

    September 24, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Kathleen Norwalk Ohio

    Hillary's nomination will be the end of terms of office for a lot of Democrat officeholders up for re-election next year. Too many people dislike her, and consequently, voters will more than likely start with the Republican candidate for President and vote that ticket all the way down to the local level. I have been a loyal Democrat all my life, but Hillary is a curse for the Party!

    September 24, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Christopher,Vancoouver,BC,Canada

    Ha! – Reading all the notes of support for a Republican President once again in 2008 has this Canadian shaking his head.

    America is drifting so far of course now and will be cleaning up for a generation the costly ideological experiment named Iraq that any idea of another Republican sends shivers up my spine.

    I say...America come back in from the cold dark night and vote for experience and pragmatism.Vote for Clinton in 2008.

    September 24, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Hey Sean Hagen Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

    Can you find all those countries on a map?

    I am from South America and I can tell you Venezuela treats its citizens and neighbors a lot better than Israel treats the Palestinians and its neighbors.

    You are just showing us your luck of knowledge. Are you?

    September 24, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Dan


    Muslim a language? USSR? Education is such a good should try it some time.

    September 24, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    People please get this!

    The republicans want to run against HRC.

    Obama is a natural with mounting grass roots appeal – he is charismatic, articulate, intelligent with mucho crossover appeal – would you want to run against that if you were a republican?

    They are locked and loaded for Hillary!
    She has strong negatives and is viewed as old hat Washington politics. Obama represents what the electorate hankers for! CHANGE !!!

    A new wind is blowing among the people
    which is stronger than the media and
    rusty old political machines.

    September 24, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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