WASHINGTON – Democratic strategist James Carville has thrown his weight behind a new “super PAC” that is promoting a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential run in 2016.
The Ready for Hillary PAC has no formal connection to the former first lady and secretary of State, who hasn’t ruled out another presidential try but has yet to announce a plan to run. But Carville’s involvement takes the group’s fledgling efforts up at least a notch by adding what appears to be a semiofficial imprimatur by a well-known Clinton ally.
“The enthusiasm and hunger for a Hillary Clinton presidency is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Carville, a political consultant instrumental in Bill Clinton’s rise to the White House, said in an email distributed Thursday by the PAC.
The purpose behind his pitch, according to Carville, is to create the grass-roots infrastructure for her potential campaign. In the email, he drew an explicit link between the pro-Hillary PAC’s efforts and the online organizing by Barack Obama that became a hallmark of his political success.
But unlike Obama’s formidable digital operation, the pro-Hillary PAC is legally required to operate outside of any formal Clinton campaign operation. That gives the new organization freedom to raise unlimited amounts of money but also prevents it from coordinating directly with the candidate’s campaign.
Carville said in his email that Democrats are more united behind a 2016 Clinton candidacy than they have been for any presidential contender in his lifetime. Recent polling, while early for a campaign that is years away, bears out his claim. It shows Clinton with a larger lead over other potential nomination contenders than any non-incumbent Democratic candidate in the modern era.
It “isn’t worth squat to have the fastest car at the racetrack if there ain’t any gas in the tank,” said Carville. “We need to convert the hunger that’s out there for Hillary’s candidacy into a real grass-roots organization.”
Set up earlier this year by a pair of longtime Hillary Clinton supporters, the super PAC has hired three full-time staff members and organized rallies to promote a Clinton candidacy.
In Washington this week, the PAC drew about 50 pro-Clinton demonstrators to the site of her first public appearance since she left the State Department. Another rally is planned for Friday in New York, when she addresses a women’s conference at Lincoln Center.
“We owe it to Hillary to start putting the building blocks of her campaign together now,” said Carville. “The modern political campaign demands it.”
Clinton, who is writing a memoir expected to be published next year, has maintained a small staff of former aides in a Washington office. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Carville’s email.