Students advocate for Rodham Clinton

BY CHRIS HIGGINS | MAY 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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Presidential politics are brewing on the Pentacrest, well before ballots have been printed.

Some University of Iowa students have begun gathering in support for a 2016 presidential campaign by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She lost the Democratic nomination for president to Barack Obama in 2008.

One way the students have come together is through a new group called UIowa Students for Hillary. The organization formed late last month, and its Facebook page has attracted roughly 80 “likes.”

The group is associated with Ready for Hillary, a political-action committee in support of a Rodham Clinton candidacy.

However, Rodham Clinton has yet to announce she will run.

“She hasn’t announced that she is running yet, but the most recent word is that she is officially ‘thinking about it,’ ” said Tessa Ditonto, a political-science professor at Iowa State University. “All the signs seem to be pointing toward a presidential run in 2016.”

Ditonto pointed to endorsements by a number of politicians and PACs raising money in her favor. She said Rodham Clinton appears to be the Democratic front-runner and “the nomination will likely be hers to lose.”

Carter Bell, the president of the UI Democrats, supports Rodham Clinton.

“I personally would like to see Hillary Clinton run because I believe she is the best candidate for the job,” Bell said. “She has numerous legislative, executive, and negotiation skills as a result of all of her roles. She has also been a fierce and tireless advocate for a number of issues that are important to me, such as education, LGBTQ rights, and women’s issues.”

Bell said a presidency would be the “capstone” of her career, during which she served as first lady and senator before becoming secretary of State.

UI College Republicans treasurer Dennis McWeeny said early student political involvement is a good thing. He believes Rodham Clinton is the Democratic front-runner.

“In fact, Republicans like myself are already strategizing about how to best campaign against her,” he said.

McWeeny, quite obviously, does not support a Rodham Clinton campaign.

“I believe her liberal, nanny-state agenda would take our country even further in the wrong direction charted in the past five years by President Obama,” he said.

He is also concerned about Rodham Clinton’s handling of the fatal attacks on an American consulate in Benghazi in 2012 and her hospitalization for a blood clot the same year. He noted that Republicans are focused on the 2014 midterm elections and that there is no current Republican front-runner for 2016.

Ditonto said many Democrats are excited about Rodham Clinton two-and-half years before the election because they want to see her have a chance after losing to Obama, she is a familiar name with what they consider to be a strong record, and to see the first female president.

“It’s also impossible to tell how the general election will turn out at this point, but she certainly has a shot at winning,” she said. “If she chooses not to run, the field is suddenly pretty wide open.”

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