Plouffe: Clinton even more formidable now

Greg Nash

Former Obama campaign adviser David Plouffe said Hillary Clinton will be more formidable as a 2016 presidential candidate than she was in 2008.

“Does Hillary Clinton run? If she does, I'm sure that, on our side, there'll be a Democrat or two that will run because they want an MSNBC show,” quipped Plouffe, an architect of President Obama’s successful 2008 campaign.

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“But having run the campaign that beat her last time, and we barely beat her, she's in a much stronger position than she was then,” added Plouffe, who was speaking at the Federal Legislative and Political Forum at the Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo in Washington.

Plouffe gave a nod to the interest in another bid at the White House by Clinton, saying more people are interested in the 2016 race than this year’s battle for Congress.  

“I think most people in the country are beginning to be more interested in 2016 than in 2014,” Plouffe said.

He also hit back at GOP strategist Karl Rove on Tuesday for questioning Clinton’s December 2012 hospitalization.

Rove questioned the former secretary of State's hospital stint, which Clinton reps have said was due to a blood clot, at a conference near Los Angeles on Thursday.

“Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?” Rove said, according to the New York Post. “We need to know what’s up with that.”

Plouffe rolled his eyes at Rove's remark.

“This will be a high-brow, positive campaign here,” Plouffe quipped sarcastically after referring to Rove's remarks. “But it does show the Republican fascination with her, and they realize, I think, how tough she will be to beat.”

Plouffe spoke on a panel with Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, senior adviser to 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Schmidt urged Republicans to appeal to a broader coalition of voters, including Hispanics.

“If you're sitting in one of the Republican strategy meetings, there's simply not enough white people in America anymore to elect you president of the United States without appealing to other groups,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the GOP has a problem with Hispanics: “They don't think we like them very much,” he said. “There's a threshold issue that's blocking our ability to communicate and that's immigration reform.”

Both Schmidt and Plouffe predicted that Congress wouldn't be able to take up major issues, such as immigration, housing and tax reform this year.

They predicted that the window for Congress to pass legislation will be just four months, following the midterm election, just before the 2016 cycle revs up.

One of the issues that could use a Congressional fix-it? The 2010 Dodd-Frank reform law, Plouffe said.

“There's a lot of good things in Dodd-Frank, but there are things we should change. One of the things is that people shouldn't have to deal with six or seven different regulatory agencies,” Plouffe said. “I mean, that makes no sense. You need to condense this for people so they know exactly who to deal with and that they're getting the same answer from people.”