The race to succeed Barack Obama as President of the United States still has three years left to marinate, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate. Several names have been tossed about as potential candidates on the Democratic side – New York governor Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden – but there’s one name that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Hillary Clinton’s experience and resume puts her soundly at the front of the Democratic pack. She possesses the Clinton name recognition and years of public service, both stateside (as a senator) and internationally (as the former First Lady and Secretary of State); she’s also a veteran campaigner who would have no trouble raising funds.
- WHITEWATER – It’s ancient history by now, but the name still carries some weight in the political realm. Bill and Hillary were caught up in this messy early-1990s controversy over the extent of their activities and influence in an Arkansas real-estate deal. The scandal ended with their former partners in the Whitewater Development Co. – Jim and Susan MacDougal – in jail. It was particularly nasty pre-Lewinsky scandal, involving figures like the late Vince Foster and special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Bringing the controversy up again might put a few dents into the campaign.
- BILL CLINTON – Since his second term ended in 2000 (seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?) the former president has reinvented himself as a truly global icon – developing the William J. Clinton Foundation, bringing down the house at Democratic conventions, presenting at the Oscars. He isn’t universally beloved, however. There’s still plenty of animosity held against Clinton for his presidency and his many scandals – Whitewater, most notably, as well as the Lewinsky affair -by many on the right. Tying Hillary into Bill’s up-and-down reign in the White House could be one of the opposition’s tactics.
- BENGHAZI – The most recent scandal, from Clinton’s term as Secretary of State, would be the freshest on people’s minds going into 2016. Clinton appeared in front of a congressional panel to answer questions about the 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya – an attack which resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Clinton took responsibility for the preparedness of the compound and the government’s confused response to the attack in a heated session of questioning. Those same heated questions might be hurled at Clinton in 2016 when quizzed on her term in the Obama cabinet.
- HEALTH CARE – Clinton took the lead in Bill Clinton’s failed first-term attempt at health care reform, which was roundly unpopular and soundly defeated in 1994. The defeat helped to bring about the “Republican Revolution” of that year, which brought the Republicans control of the House and Senate. Her plan – and the defeat – are likely to be brought up again if she runs in 2016.
- “UNDER SNIPER FIRE” – This scandal from the 2008 campaign might come up again. During her ultimately-unsuccessful run against Obama, Clinton claimed that she had landed “under sniper fire” during a 1996 trip to Bosnia – an allegation that was quickly proven to be false, to great embarrassment to her campaign. It hurt her against Obama, and it might hurt her against the Republican opponent.