Obama asks why Hillary would still want to run for president in 2016
Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30
Mr Obama mused aloud why Mrs Clinton, who if elected would be among the oldest presidents in US history, would want to submit to another gruelling presidential campaign, eight years after she was defeated.
Mr Obama's intervention comes as Mrs Clinton makes a bruising re-entry to the political orbit after four years as secretary of state, a largely non-partisan job that allowed her to float above Washington mud-slinging.
In recent weeks she has toured the country to promote her new book – drawing both excited crowds of supporters urging her to run for president and heavy fire from potential Republican and Democrat adversaries.
Republicans have tried to cast Mrs Clinton, who would be 69 if she took office in 2017 – only slightly younger than Ronald Reagan – as a "20th-Century candidate" out of touch with the modern world.
The criticism has dented her approval ratings, which have slipped from consistently above 60pc to closer to 50pc, a reflection of her return as a polarising figure in partisan politics.
Mr Obama was asked by 'The New Yorker' magazine about the prospect of both Mrs Clinton and Joe Biden, the US vice-president, running for president in 2016.
"I think that, for Joe and for Hillary, they've already accomplished an awful lot in their lives. The question is, do they, at this phase in their lives, want to go through the pretty undignifying process of running all over again," Mr Obama said.
Mr Biden, who trails far behind Mrs Clinton in polls of potential Democrat candidates, has expressed interest in running but would be 74 if he won – the oldest president ever in the White House.
'The New Yorker' describes Mr Obama, who has shown growing restlessness with the confines of the White House, as unable to "hide his bewilderment that his friends would want to subject themselves to another presidential campaign".
Mrs Clinton has said she will decide by the end of the year whether to run for president, citing the forthcoming birth of her first grandchild as one reason she has not yet officially made up her mind.
But her clear interest in a second bid has revived the market for right-wing books, often thinly sourced, claiming to offer prurient details of the Clintons' private lives.
Such books, last popular during Bill Clinton's presidency, have been doing a roaring trade and 'Blood Feud', which claims to reveal a bitter relationship between the Obamas and the Clintons, is outselling Mrs Clinton's autobiography, 'Hard Choices'.
Another book, 'The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of Presidents', claims Mr Clinton has a blonde mistress, nicknamed 'Energiser' by his secret service agents.
Neither of the Clintons have responded to the claims in the book.
Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida and potential 2016 contender, insisted "Hillary is not unbeatable" despite the formidable political and fundraising machine around her. "I think she does not offer an agenda for moving America forward," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)