Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus bucked conventional wisdom by claiming he “actually doubts very much” that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016, citing a string of controversies over the past month that make her candidacy an increasingly uphill battle.
Priebus spoke with NBC’s David Gregory Sunday about the former secretary of state’s presidential prospects. Despite legions of political commentators voicing contrary opinions, the RNC head said he believes Hillary’s crowning as the Democratic nominee is far from certain.
“Is the mission to persuade her not to run?” Gregory asked — trying to get Priebus to admit that Republican strategy is to knock Clinton out early.
“No, it’s not the mission,” Priebus pushed back. “But she’s coming out with a book called ‘Hard Choices,’ or something like that. She’s made a series of bad choices . . . Benghazi shouldn’t be swept under the rug, four diplomats died. Boko Haram, these people have over 200 girls in Nigeria. the Syria issue. The Russian reset.”
Unsurprisingly, Gregory pushed back on Priebus’ interpretation of Benghazi. But the RNC chair pressed on.
“Well, when Senator Johnson tried to ask her questions about Benghazi and her response was ‘What difference does it make?’, I can assure you that that will be an issue if she does decide to run,” he asserted. “My view though, David, is that given the month she just had, I actually doubt very much that she will run for president in 2016.”
“I know a lot of people around her want her to run,” Priebus explained, “and I think that they’re purposely creating this environment around her which is causing us to talk about her today.”
“Is she the candidate that you and the Republican Party most fear?” Gregory asked.
“No, actually I don’t fear — I think Hillary is a known product,” the RNC chair said. “Actually I think it’s sometimes worse running against a blank slate. Hillary has decades of history for us to explore.”
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