Pollsters call on Obama to step aside, make way for Clinton

Washington Bureau

Reviving an idea they floated last year with an op-ed urging President Obama not to seek a second term, pollsters Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen are out Monday with a new op-ed drafting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the Democrats' 2012 nominee.

Obama should “abandon his candidacy for reelection in favor of a clear alternative,” Caddell and Schoen wrote in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, because “the kind of campaign required for the president’s political survival would make it almost impossible for him to govern -- not only during the campaign, but throughout a second term.”

“Never before has there been such an obvious potential successor -- one who has been a loyal and effective member of the president’s administration, who has  the stature to take on the office, and who is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy,” they wrote of Clinton.

The two pollsters have worked for a number of high-profile Democrats  -- Caddell  for George McGovern, Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden, and Schoen for President Bill Clinton and for Hillary Clinton in 2008.  But they are also known for taking positions that are at odds with the Democratic Party.

Most recently, Schoen has worked with a group called Americans Elect to put a third candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.

The group plans to hold a nominating convention next summer to select a candidate to challenge Obama and the Republican nominee. Participants will draft candidates by putting their names to a Web-based vote. Hillary Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- another former client of Schoen’s -- are often mentioned as potential nominees.

Like they did last year in an op-ed for the Washington Post, Caddell and Schoen argue that running for reelection will prevent Obama from governing.

“By going down the reelection road and into partisan mode, the president has effectively guaranteed that the remainder of his term will be marred by the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity, common purpose, and most of all, our economic strength,” they wrote.

The pollster duo believes that: “If President Obama were to withdraw he would put great pressure on the Republicans to come to the table and negotiate -- especially if the president singularly focused in the way we have suggested on the economy, job creation, and debt and deficit reduction. “

They argue that Clinton would stand a better chance at winning in 2012 because she enjoys her best-ever approval rating and is favored over Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in a Time magazine poll.  And they call on Sen. Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to urge Obama to step aside “for the good of the party and most of all for the good of the country.”

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said that she has no ambitions to run again for president. She has brushed aside talk of replacing Joe Biden as the vice presidential nominee on the Democrats' ticket.

"I'm out of politics, happy to be out of politics," she said last week when asked by NBC's Chuck Todd to weigh in on the field of Republican hopefuls.


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