- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2014

As Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares for an expected presidential run, perhaps her greatest asset — unmatched name recognition built over 25 years in the public eye — could become something of a liability.

Some political analysts say the former secretary of state runs the risk of seeming like old news by the time 2016 caucuses and primaries begin, with her celebrity standing and pop-culture status ultimately leading to fatigue among voters.

Indeed, there may be some evidence that the star of Mrs. Clinton, who would be launching her second White House bid in 2016, already could be fading.

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A June 11 Gallup poll shows that Mrs. Clinton’s favorability rating has dropped to 54 percent, the lowest figure since 2008, when her first presidential campaign was coming to a close. During her four-year tenure as President Obama’s chief diplomat, her favorability rating consistently was around 65 percent, according to Gallup.

Other recent polls show even more of a decline, particularly over the past few months as Mrs. Clinton has re-emerged on the political scene.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week — after Mrs. Clinton embarked on a book tour to promote her memoir “Hard Choices” — found the former first lady’s favorability rating has sunk to 44 percent, compared with 48 percent two months ago.

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Despite those numbers, Mrs. Clinton, with her frequent appearances on the TV talk show circuit, is pushing herself on the public as hard as ever. But the media blitz may have negative consequences, some specialists say, especially since her popularity appears to have peaked.

“Hillary Clinton does have quite an extraordinary past of public service and general political engagement, but how much brighter can her star burn? To a certain extent, I think her greatest challenge is this sense of inevitability and supernova reputation that she’s acquired over the last few years,” said Lara Brown, program director at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

The Clintons seem to understand the risk of overexposure. During an interview with CBS News this month, Mrs. Clinton conceded that “a lot of people have said” they’re sick of the Clintons, though she downplayed the significance of those feelings.

“That wouldn’t influence my decision one way or the other, because I think the voters have the right to choose whoever they want,” she said.

In addition to the sinking poll numbers, Clinton fatigue may be manifesting itself in other ways.

Mrs. Clinton’s media offensive, for example, hasn’t kept viewers glued to their TV screens. Her recent town hall event with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour came in a distant second in the ratings to Fox News programming, according to Mediaite.

When Mrs. Clinton appeared on Fox News’ “On the Record” last week, ratings dropped when Mrs. Clinton’s interview with Greta Van Susteren aired, then rose again when the next program began, Mediaite reported.

Reports also suggest animosity between the Obamas and the Clintons, which could complicate a Clinton campaign.

In journalist Edward Klein’s new book, “Blood Feud,” sources close to the Clintons recount what seems to be, at best, tension between the two camps. At worst, some of former President Bill Clinton’s comments express outright hatred.

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