By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The Hillary Clinton for president buzz is loud - and getting louder.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett tells CNN that there's nobody better qualified than Clinton to become president in 2016.
"I like what she believes in. I think she's extraordinarily able and energetic... in pushing those beliefs,” he says.
And Buffett is just the latest to talk about a potential Clinton run in four years.
He joins President Bill Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Even Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, have alluded to it.
Google "Hillary Clinton 2016" and you get more than five million hits.
For her part, Clinton insists the answer is "no."
She is finishing up her term as secretary of state and will leave as one of the most popular members of the Obama administration.
Clinton talks about how she's been in the political spotlight for 20 years and wants to have her own time back. Fair enough. She says wants to sleep and relax. OK, but what about after that?
While Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said she won't run again for president, this is the same woman who's said that politics is in her DNA.
She is a Clinton after all.
And with a resume that includes secretary of state, senator, and first lady, the Democratic nomination is likely hers for the taking if she wants it.
Vice President Joe Biden has kept the door open to a 2016 presidential run, although he recently acknowledged it might depend on the economy. It might also depend on Hillary.
Here’s my question to you: Is Hillary Clinton the answer?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The 2012 presidential election is still seven months away but perhaps not surprisingly many are already eyeing 2016 and Hillary Clinton.
The Secretary of State, former New York Senator and former First Lady is generating plenty of buzz even though she insists it's not happening.
Nancy Pelosi became the latest to weigh-in on Hillary's future, saying it would be "so exciting" to see Mrs. Clinton run in 2016. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Donald Trump and even her husband, Bill Clinton, have been talking about it too, along with the chattering class of pundits.
The co-author of "Game Change" recently said there's a 99.4% chance Hillary will run for president in four years.
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Maureen Dowd has suggested that maybe President Obama isn't a strong enough advocate for women, and that Hillary Clinton might benefit from renewed focus on issues like abortion and birth control.
Ever the politician, the former president is leaving the door open for his wife to run. Bill Clinton says "I believe she's being absolutely honest... when she says she doesn't think she'll go back into politics," but he adds that if Hillary changes her mind and decides to run for president, he'd be "happy."
For her part, Hillary Clinton has said she doesn't want to serve a second term in the Obama Administration. She says she wants to finish up as Secretary of State and then take time to reconnect with family and friends, hit the writing and speaking circuit, etc.
Hillary Clinton says all the talk about running for president is flattering, but that she's "not at all planning to do that." Hillary says she has no "desire or intention" to run.
Here’s my question to you: Why is there so much interest in a 2016 Hillary Clinton run?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Michele Bachmann's dreams of being president are history. And so too is the possibility of the U.S. electing its first woman president - at least for another four years.
This was the second election in a row where a woman tried and failed to become president.
Hillary Clinton made a great run at it in 2008, but in the end lost the Democratic Party's nomination to Barack Obama.
When Clinton bowed out, she acknowledged she wasn't able to "shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling" but noted that her supporters put about 18 million cracks in it. At the time, polls suggested Americans were more ready for a black president than a woman president.
Fast forward four years, and there were high expectations for Bachmann, at least in her birth state of Iowa.
Bachmann entered the race as a tea party favorite and became the first woman to win the Ames Straw Poll in August. Unfortunately for Bachmann, that was the high point of her campaign.
Here’s my question to you: What will it take for this country to elect a woman president?
He probably wouldn't appreciate the comparison - but Mitt Romney just might turn out to be the Hillary Clinton of 2012.
Politico talked to veterans of the Clinton campaign who pointed out "eerie" similarities between the two campaigns.
"Romney has followed the Clinton playbook so closely ... you'd think she won her party's nomination," the former aides told Politico. Another former Clinton adviser talks of suffering "PTSD" when an Iowa poll showed Romney in third place.
Both Clinton in 2008 and now Romney in 2012 were "supposed to" be their party's nominees - both well-funded and establishment-blessed candidates. Clinton lost to Barack Obama in that bruising, drawn-out battle, while Romney faces a more-than-serious threat from Newt Gingrich.
Here are some other similarities:
Where Clinton took a stand on her vote to authorize the Iraq war, Romney has refused to apologize for the health care mandate in Massachusetts, which some Republicans see as a fatal flaw.
Both Clinton and Romney initially ran cautious campaigns, trying to stay above the fray. When it didn't work - they went negative.
And both suffered a major debate gaffe: For Clinton, it was a muddled answer she gave on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. For Romney, it's the now-infamous $10,000 bet.
But there are also differences.
While Romney has faced a series of opponents, from Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Gingrich, the Clinton team battled what they saw as a Kennedyesque, once-in-a-generation politician - Barack Obama.
Another difference that could work in Romney's favor: Clinton's rival, Obama, had an extensive organization in the later-voting states. Romney doesn't have to worry about that.
Lastly, there is that chance for Romney to win this thing if Gingrich self-destructs, something Clinton's people never expected Obama to do - and he didn't.
Here’s my question to you: Is Mitt Romney the Hillary Clinton of 2012?
It's time for President Obama to step aside and hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton.
This rather radical idea is coming from two Democratic pollsters in a Wall Street Journal piece called "The Hillary Moment."
Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen argue that Obama should follow in the footsteps of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson. Both presidents "took the moral high road" and abandoned a run for a second term when they realized they could not effectively govern.
Caddell and Schoen say that never before has there been such an "obvious potential successor" as Hillary Clinton. They say she would save the Democratic Party and be able to get things done in Washington. They think Clinton is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.
They point to Clinton's experience as first lady, senator and now secretary of state - suggesting she is more qualified than any presidential candidate in recent memory, including her husband.
Although Clinton says she's not interested in running, polls suggest she might do pretty well:
In September, her approval rating was at an all-time high of 69%. Another poll shows Clinton leading Mitt Romney by 17 points in a hypothetical matchup.
Caddell and Schoen say Obama could still win re-election in 2012, but only by waging a negative campaign, which would ultimately make the gridlock in Washington even worse.
If Obama isn't willing to step aside, they think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should urge him to do so.
The pollsters say they're writing as "patriots and Democrats," have had no contact with Clinton's people, and don't expect to play a direct role in any potential campaign.
Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama step aside and hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton?
Looks like some Democrats are having buyer's remorse when it comes to President Obama and wishing they had gone with Hillary Clinton instead.
The recent negotiations over the debt ceiling are being seen by many as the lowest point in Mr. Obama's presidency. And it's not just Republicans who are comparing Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter or saying he'll be a one-term president.
One Democratic strategist tells the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph that Democrats are worried that the president "looks weak. He doesn't say anything that grabs you, and people are looking for some kind of magic."
Apparently some Democratic activists are asking if the party needs someone tougher to fight the tea party. Someone, say, like Hillary Clinton. They point out that Hillary, like her husband Bill Clinton, has tougher political instincts than President Obama.
During the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton claimed that although then-candidate Obama might be able to inspire the masses, she was the one who had the experience to get the job done.
Hindsight is 20-20, but it's easy to see why some Democrats are now nervous about the president's re-election chances. His approval ratings are at or near all-time lows for his presidency and only one-third of Americans approve of how he's handling the economy, which is the No. 1 issue.
What's more, one recent poll showed 44% of registered voters say they are more likely to vote for a generic Republican in 2012. That's compared to 39% who say they're more likely to vote for Mr. Obama.
When you lose in a hypothetical matchup against an unknown opponent, that's not a good starting point from which to seek to be re-elected.
Here’s my question to you: Would Hillary Clinton have been a better choice for the Democrats?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
A radio host in Southern California named John Phillips wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times titled "Why Hillary Clinton Must Run in 2012."
In it, he lays out why he thinks Clinton could win the Oval Office this time around. He points to approval ratings– President Obama at just 42% in a new Quinnipiac University poll, Secretary of State Clinton at 66% in a similar poll conducted by Gallup.
Phillips also talks about dissatisfied Clinton backers from the 2008 primaries who never really fell in love with Obama. To quote, "They just fell in line." And Phillips suggests these folks are so fed up with Obama they could be persuaded to vote for a Republican rather than vote to re-elect the president.
But why is Hillary Clinton suddenly so much more attractive as a candidate? Phillips says the military action in Libya was Hillary's "I told you so" moment with "Hillary serving as the realistic, aggressive war hawk and Obama being a not-ready-for-prime-time waffler."
While Phillips might be on to something, the secretary of state has said repeatedly that she is not interested in running for president again.
When Wolf Blitzer asked her in Cairo if she'd want to be president in 2012, she quickly said no.
What about 2016? She said:
"I am doing what I want to do right now and I have no intention or any idea even of running again. I'm going to do the best I can at this job for the next two years."
Of course 2012 is still a ways off, and in politics, as we have seen, stranger things have happened.
Here’s my question to you: Do you think Hillary Clinton could beat President Obama next year?
Turns out you can add politics to the list of things that women do better than men. It's a long list.
The Daily Beast reports on a new study that shows female politicians are among the most productive and persuasive ones in the country.
This research in the American Journal of Political Science is the first to compare the performance of male and female politicians. It shows women do a better job at securing pork for their home districts and shaping policy.
From 1984 to 2004, women politicians won about $50 million more a year for their districts than men did.
As for policy, women sponsored more bills and attracted more co-sponsors than their male counterparts. The female politicians' bills also made it further through the legislative process and got more media attention.
The authors say this is because women do a better job at "logrolling, agenda-setting, coalition building and other deal-making activities."
They suggest women make better politicians because they have to. Consider that women hold less than one in five of all national seats, so the ones who make it to Washington better be pretty good.
The study concludes that in order to overcome any bias against women in leadership roles, these female politicians have to work even harder to be seen as equals.
They call their study "The Jackie (and Jill) Robinson Effect," a reference to the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. He was also one of the greatest of all time.
The comparison here is that because of racism during Robinson's era, black baseball players had to be better than whites to make it to the big leagues.
Here’s my question to you: Why are women politicians more effective than men?
While her party was being tarred and feathered at the polls Tuesday, secretary of state and former first lady, senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was 9,000 miles away on the other side of the world. How convenient.
She attended a women's empowerment conference in Papua, New Guinea this week. Clinton knows a thing or two about empowerment.
Meanwhile, back in the states, her husband, the former president, was campaigning like a madman. He made more than 100 appearances around the country on behalf of Democrats leading into the midterm election.
Why? Surely he could read the polls as well as anyone. Democrats got the beating everybody knew they would get. So why was the former president racing around in a losing cause?
Was it payback for the IOUs collected when Hillary was running two years ago? Or was it, perhaps, creating some new IOUs of his own on behalf of his wife?
It's an intriguing question. And there's certainly some appetite within the Democratic party for a primary challenger for the president, with some polls suggesting as many as half of Democrats want that to happen.
Unless the economy turns around and there are jobs to be had, Obama could be had in 2012. And what a rematch it would be. Think Ali-Frazier. Toe to toe for 15 rounds until both are too tired to stand.
Hey, we can dream can't we? And if you want to get real silly, what if the Republicans nominated Sarah Palin?
(PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
President Obama should drop Joe Biden and put Hillary Clinton on the ticket with him if he runs for re-election in 2012.
It's an idea that's getting lots of attention these days... despite the fact that the election is still more than two years away.
This all heated up after a piece on Politico.com this month by former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder. He says as Secretary of State, Clinton has been nothing but a team player. Wilder says she's been tough and commanding when necessary... as well as graceful and diplomatic. He then compares her to Biden, who as Vice President has continued to make his infamous gaffes.
Wilder also points out that Clinton might be able to help the President win key voting blocs, like middle class Independents and working class voters.
Since the Wilder piece, the idea is popping up all over, from the pages of the Wall Street Journal to Time magazine, AOL's Politics Daily and The Daily Beast.
Some suggest Clinton and Biden should swap roles as Secretary of State and Vice President... while others argue that putting Clinton on the ticket will give Pres. Obama the best shot at re-election.
And then there's the whole notion of President Obama creating yet another historic ticket - with the first female vice president.
As for The White House - it quickly shot down this idea, insisting Joe Biden will continue to be a "trusted partner" for the president.
Of course, this could be a moot point if Mrs. Clinton decides to make another run at the top job.
Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama drop Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton as his running mate in 2012?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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