President Describes Hillary Clinton As 'a Very Formidable Candidate'

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

President Bush also offered in the ABC interview some rare public assessments of the ongoing U.S. election campaign. Asked who he thought the next president would be, Bush answered that he has "no idea," but he acknowledged telling another journalist that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) would probably be the Democratic nominee.

"I think she's a very formidable candidate," Bush said. "One of the interesting things that she brings is that she has been under pressure. She understands the klieg lights. You know what I'm talking about."

Bush said he found "odd" the statement by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) that Obama would meet the leaders of North Korea, Cuba and other U.S. adversaries without preconditions, but he emphasized, "I'm going to try to stay out of these races."

"I would tell you what . . . these candidates don't really understand is how complex the environment is inside the Oval Office," Bush said. "And how important it is to have a set of principles from which you will not deviate, and so that you can make good sound decisions. . . . I think it's impossible for anybody to fully comprehend, you know, how much incoming there is."

-- Michael Abramowitz and Robin Wright

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