- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Studied gravitas and serious suits may not do it. A new poll finds that 69 percent of American voters do not want Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, to run for president. Ever.
"By more than two to one, voters nationwide" think she should forget about the White House, according to a Marist Institute for Public Opinion survey released yesterday.
"Republicans and independents overwhelmingly oppose a possible Clinton candidacy," the new poll also stated.
Indeed, 90 percent of GOP voters and 66 percent of the independents felt Mrs. Clinton should stay off the biggest ballot of all. Among Democrats, 53 percent agreed.
The numbers were not so kind on the applause meter, either.
Asked whether they had a "favorable or unfavorable impression," 86 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents landed in the unfavorable category. Sixty-six percent of the Democrats said they had a favorable impression of the former first lady, 24 percent voted unfavorably and 10 percent were undecided.
Overall, 53 percent of voters nationwide viewed Mrs. Clinton favorably, with 37 percent saying they had a favorable impression and 10 percent unsure.
The survey of 769 registered voters was conducted by telephone Wednesday and Thursday. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.
Despite the numbers, a kind of cultural mythology remains afoot: Some are stuck on the idea that Mrs. Clinton will one day return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"Hillary Clinton for President in 2004" campaign buttons are available from New Jersey-based manufacturer Silent Cal, for example. It peddles them for $3.25 each, along with versions for California Gov. Gray Davis, Al Gore and Al Sharpton, among others.
Almost a dozen "Hillary for president"-inspired domain names have been registered for the Internet, though none is up and running.
Alas, fans must wait for 2008. Mrs. Clinton vowed in August that she would complete her six-year term in the Senate, due to expire in 2006.
"I have no plans to run for president," she told the Associated Press at the time, adding that she understood public fascination.
"That's part of the speculation and wishful thinking," Mrs. Clinton said. "We all hope a woman will run in our lifetime."
Still, she has adopted a kind of pre-presidential posturing, bolstered by serious fund-raising.
"This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make but I cast it with conviction," Mrs. Clinton said in her speech before the Senate during the vote last week to authorize use of military force in Iraq.
"Perhaps my decision is influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House, watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation. I want this president, or any future president, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country in the United Nations or in war," she said.

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