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Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 10/28/2011

Hillary 2012? Better bet than Obama, some say

Let the Hillary Clinton 2012 chatter begin in earnest. A new poll out by Time magazine showed that the secretary of state would trounce any of the top contenders in the GOP field.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. (Anjum Naveed - AP)

Since leaving the hyper-partisan political world and focusing on international affairs, Clinton has enjoyed across-the-board popularity that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

Matched against leading GOP contender Mitt Romney, Clinton won a head-to-head matchup, 55 to 38 percent. In a faceoff against Rick Perry, she pulled 58 percent of the vote. In a solo race against businessman Herman Cain, she won, 56 to 34 percent. The poll revealed that Obama would eke out a victory against Romney, 46 to 43 percent, and beat Perry and Cain by 12 points apiece

Clinton’s strong showing is likely to make some Democrats wistful for to have the former first lady on the ticker. There has been some idle speculation that swapping Clinton for current Vice President Joe Biden would help Obama’s prospects (not happening).

But Clinton’s new and unlikely role as America’s favorite Democrat likely makes people forget the bitter Obama v. Clinton fight in 2008, and how much she was a lightening rod for the right.

Furthermore, Clinton has repeatedly stated she isn’t running for president, at least not in 2016. And it seems like the more wonky policy world suits her.

In 2011, Clinton came in at number-two on Forbes Magazine’s annual list of 100 most powerful women in the world. The former senator has become the face and force behind robust foreign policy victories; a Time cover story describes the Libyan conflict as “Clinton’s war,” and explores her use of “smart power” as America’s role in the world has changed.

When Obama picked Clinton to be his secretary of state, it was widely thought of as a savvy way to sideline his chief rival, consolidate the Democratic Party, and to form a Team of Rivals a la Abraham Lincoln. Meanwhile, Clinton has said she intends to serve only one term, and because of her diplomatic role, won’t be on the stump in 2012. Yet, she will continue to be one of the president’s most important surrogates given her popularity among Democrats and stature.

By  |  12:27 PM ET, 10/28/2011

 
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