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NOVAK: THE HILLARY ’08 EXPRESS HITS A BUMP IN THE ROAD

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 9, 2005 08:16 AM

Bob Novak visits California and finds “surprising and substantial opposition” among Democrat elites to nominating Hillary Clinton for President in ’08:

At a dinner party in a private room of a Los Angeles restaurant attended by eight Democratic politicians (including City Council members and a county supervisor), I was asked to assess the political scene. I concluded with a preview of the distant events of 2008. While there had not been so open a race for the Republican nomination since 1940, I said, Clinton was dominant for the Democrats. For someone who is neither an incumbent president nor vice president to have apparently locked the nomination so early is without precedent.

As I made this analysis, the liberal Democratic functionary across the table from me shook his head in disagreement. He left his seat between courses, and then returned with this announcement: “There are eight Democrats in this room. I’ve taken a little poll, and none of them — none — are for Hillary for president. They think she is a loser.”

Talking to some of them, I found concern that Hillary carries too much baggage from her turbulent marriage and her husband’s presidency to do any better than John Kerry did last year. One female office holder was looking hard for another Southern moderate who could bite into the Confederacy as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton had done.

Another woman office holder was hostile to a Clinton candidacy on a more personal basis. “Don’t think that Hillary has the women’s vote,” she told me. “I will never forgive her for sticking with her husband after he humiliated her. It’s something I can’t get over.”

Eight Democrats, no matter how prominent, constitute a tiny sample. But I checked with Democratic sources in California and found broad early resistance to Clinton. [Virginia Gov. Mark] Warner wowed listeners on a recent trip, though he was not as big a hit as [Indiana Sen. Evan] Bayh on his L.A. sojourn. The Hoosier senator may be a dull, moderate Midwesterner to the party cognoscenti who already have bestowed the nomination on Clinton, but he looked like a winner to the Hollywood crowd.

Like many others, I had assumed Ms. Clinton had the ’08 nomination locked up. Now I’m not so sure.

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