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Hillary could win in 2008, but not easily

There are roughly two years left until the next presidential election. People are already talking about who will be nominated, who will end up running and who might actually win. One of the big questions is whether Hillary Clinton will run. Even though she has not confirmed any plans for running for president yet, many people are dying to know if America might come close to having its first female president.

In a Gallup poll conducted in May 2005, more than half of those who responded said they would be somewhat likely to vote for Sen. Clinton if she ran for president in 2008. However, those who said they would certainly vote against her surpassed those who said they would by 10 percent.

Though support for Clinton has grown as more people reflect on the Bill Clinton administration, she says running for president is the last thing on her mind. She has been focusing most of her time lately on her re-election.

While the buzz continues about “is she or isn’t she?” Hillary Clinton and her husband maintain their modest stances.

“I am not thinking about that at all,” Clinton said on ABC in September. “I know everybody else is and lots of other people are saying, ‘Oh, she is, she is,’ but the truth is, I don’t think about it. I haven’t made any decision about it because that’s not how I think and how I work.”

It is not such a far stretch to think Clinton could have a fighting chance at becoming the first woman president. She does have the experience. According to the Examiner, Clinton worked on her husband’s two successful presidential campaigns, she was a Democratic strategist for eight years inside the White House, and despite what critics thought, she won the New York Senate seat on her first attempt.

During her husband’s presidency, Clinton got a reputation for being a bit scolding, but her image has softened since becoming a senator. Time magazine said she can be kind, funny and charming, especially in small settings. Some hail her as being an extremely sharp, aggressive and meticulous politician, which could help her win the primary. Nonetheless, many doubt she would be able to win the general election.

One of the biggest concerns is her husband, Bill. He could either help or destroy her.

“He overpowers her with his gifts,” a senior Democratic strategist told Time. “When they are together, it also makes it harder to see the gifts that she has that he doesn’t, like a better sense of self and much less insecurity.”

People suggest that if she runs, she and her husband should campaign separately. Of course, constantly being seen apart would put their marriage under scrutiny. Years later, people still wonder about why Clinton stayed with her husband after his public trysts. Comedians continue to make stabs about them, and news sources wait hungrily as they look for the next Clinton scandal to break.

Her next challenge would be Iraq. Even though many consider Clinton to be a liberal, some won’t forgive her support for the Iraq war and her opposition to creating a specific timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops. She would also take harder blows from the right than the ones her husband took because she would be subjected to criticism via the most recent force in politics – blogs.

The last problem would be America’s possible disenchantment with the Bushes and the Clintons swapping office every eight years. In 2008, Americans might crave for new blood in the White House. Democrats believe John Edwards could be that solution because he has the kind of personality people would want in a president. Clinton may not have that.

Clinton is already ahead of all the other presidential hopefuls two years before the general election. If she runs, her campaign will not be a walk in the park. She would have to convince America that she’s capable, as well as convince her own party that she has what it takes to win.

Nevertheless, with two presidential wins and two very promising Senate victories under her belt, she might just be able to break the ultimate glass ceiling and become the first female president of the United States.

Shemir Wiles is a senior majoring in mass communications.