By Justin Sink
Hillary Clinton is "a dominant front-runner" who has a "huge, huge base in the Democratic Party," former Obama White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Monday.
“I think most people will decide to stand down," Plouffe, who served as President Obama's campaign manager in 2008, predicted of the Democratic field.
Still, Plouffe told Politico's "Playbook Lunch" that it was still possible that Vice President Biden, who has openly flirted with the idea of a 2016 run, could mount a bid.
The former White House adviser said Biden "connects with middle-class voters exceedingly well" and hailed the vice president’s "authenticity" and "great appeal."
"All of us in Obamaworld have such affection for him, a belief in him as a public official,” Plouffe said. “He’s an amazing person.”
President Obama has so far declined to weigh in on the 2016 race to replace him, offering praise for both Biden and Clinton. In an interview with the New Yorker published last month, Obama said Biden would be a "superb president."
“He has seen the job up close, he knows what the job entails,” Obama said.
But the question for both Biden and Clinton, Obama said, is whether they actually want to run for president, something he described as a “pretty undignifying process.”
“I think that, for both Joe and for Hillary, they’ve already accomplished an awful lot in their lives,” Obama said. “The question is, do they, at this phase in their lives, want to go through the pretty undignifying process of running all over again.”
Obama's former top aide said that, while it appeared many Republicans were willing and eager to go through that process, their primary remained a "complete jump ball."
He said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had "the rawest political skill," but Plouffe said his tendency to be "thin-skinned" could prove his downfall. He added that Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush could struggle to appeal to hard-line conservatives within the party.
Plouffe said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) could thrive in the GOP primary because he was "most in alignment" with Tea Party voters that provide the base of the Republican electorate.
“He is emblematic of where a lot of that hard-core primary voter base is right now,” Plouffe said.
Fellow Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) could also challenge for the nomination, the Obama strategist said, because of his ability to bridge the Tea Party and libertarian wings of the party.