Is Hillary Clinton Close to Announcing '08 Run?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," December 18, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Sen. Hillary Clinton is stepping out in the public eye in a big way, making the rounds on the morning talk shows to promote the re-release of her book, "It Takes a Village". Re-release.

While Sen. Clinton tops the polls of potential Democratic presidential contenders in '08, she has taken a backseat to Sen. Barack Obama's recent public spotlight — until now.

Does this media blitz mean she's inching closer to making a decision on a run in '08, or rather making an announcement? With me now is political analyst Dick Morris. You can read his column, get his newsletter at DickMorris.com.

So is she responding to the Obama-rama? Suddenly, she's hitting — I'll show you a list here. She's doing the "Today Show." She's doing "The View." And she's doing this round of book signings, which is, you know, seems like a lot for her.

DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, of course she is. But anybody who honestly believes that she hasn't made a decision to run for president...

GIBSON: We're past that.

MORRIS: ...like grow up. But you know, there was a quote on the "Today Show" that deserves to be enshrined as the quote of the year. She said, and I quote, "I don't believe anything this president says." Now, is that about the last president or this president?

GIBSON: Well, it's too close. It should be enshrined.

Well, why is she reacting so hard to Obama?

MORRIS: Because Obama is coming on strong and developing a lot of momentum, and she doesn't want to lose her star quality.

But I have a theory. I think that Barack Obama is the best thing that's ever happened to Hillary Clinton, because there's a vacuum of the anti-Hillary. It's got to be filled by somebody. Better a candidate we spend five minutes thinking about and you realize he can't be president than a real contender like Gore or Edwards or even Kerry or Biden or Bayh. Because anybody who thinks about Obama for five minutes knows the guy's never introduced a bill. He's never been important. He spent 100 weeks in the Senate. He's basically a — no foreign policy experience, and she'll knock him apart.

And it's just like in 1996. You're too young to remember this, John, but in '96, Lugar from Indiana, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Lamar Alexander from Tennessee were trying to develop some traction to take on Bob Dole. And Colin Powell said, "I may run for president," and he went on a book tour and he had thousands of people, just like Obama. And by the time he announced he wasn't running for president, it was too late for Alexander or Lugar to get traction. So the only opponent that Dole had was Steve Forbes, because he could write a check any time he wanted. And if there was one guy who was less attractive than Dole, it was Forbes. And I think that Obama is performing a similar function, inadvertently, for Hillary.

GIBSON: OK, but let's turn to the other guy. That's John McCain. And according to the latest polls, he beats both of them.

MORRIS: Look, I may be outdated in this, and I do love John McCain, but I do not believe that the guy who sponsored the bill to limit questioning of detainees, who with Ted Kennedy sponsored amnesty for illegal immigrants, who with Russ Feingold sponsored campaign financial reform, who with Joseph Lieberman sponsored global warming. I don't believe he can win a South Carolina Republican primary. I mean, sue me. I just think that when they get this guy's record, they'll clean him up.

And Romney, the other alternative, was pro-life, then pro-choice, and then pro-life. That's not going to sell either. And I think you've got to drill way deep down to find a Republican nominee — a Huckabee or a Brownback or a Duncan Hunter, or some unknowns you haven't heard of yet. Because I don't think Giuliani is going to run. I don't think McCain is going to win. I don't think the right wing is going to support Romney. And everybody else is out. Allen is out; Frist is out. You've got to go to the bottom of the barrel.

GIBSON: Dick Morris. Read his newsletter at DickMorris.com. Dick, as always, thank you.

MORRIS: Thank you.

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