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The nightmare scenario may just be a dream

Friday, Jun 6, 2014

* If you talk to Illinois Republican types about 2016, their nightmare scenario is Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket and Michelle Obama running for US Senate. Greg Hinz

As the effort to boost former first lady Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects hits town, a Washington wag is suggesting that current first lady Michelle Obama has her eye set on another political post: the Illinois U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mark Kirk.

Barring something totally unforeseen, it’s a pretty safe bet that Mrs. Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, which is gonna push a ton of women to the polls in the state where she grew up. Add Mrs. Obama into the mix, and, well, like I noted at the top, a nightmare scenario for the GOP.

* But the DC columnist mentioned in Greg’s piece had zero evidence of any movement toward a Senate bid. And another DC wag, Eleanor Clift, penned a recent column based on nothing but “buzz.”

* Back to Hinz

A top Obama confidant who asks not to be named is knocking down the speculation. “She is more likely to play linebacker for the Bears than to run for office,” that source says.

And Clift

“Without asking her, I would guess that the last thing Michelle would do after leaving the White House would be to run for public office,” former Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said in an email. “She has a lifelong commitment to service, but not to politics. I can’t see her going that route.”

Discuss without using DC talking points. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

46 Comments
  1. - Not Five Thirty Eight - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    Rich writes: “Discuss without using DC talking points.”

    There is nothing but DC talking points here.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Michelle Obama will run for the US Senate here in Illinois, like Hillary Clinton ran for US Senate from Illinois.

    What? My bad.

    Had Hillary ran in Illinois and not New York…

    That, is what is called “Delicious. Irony.”

    Hillary in 2016 in Illinois, General Election?

    My Party? Yikes.


  3. - ILPundit - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Every time Obama worked to make a step up the ladder, he had to really coax Michelle along. I think the chances that Michelle runs for anything is exactly 0%


  4. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    My Theory: Somebody from the DSCC floated this idea to the press, somebody they are close with, and they went with it. Now the DSCC will do their due diligence, reach out to Michelle Obama and gauge her interest. I think she is a great candidate and would win easily, but Illinois has a very deep bench of State Senators, who I think can take this away from Kirk, especially if he is not 100% healthy. It’s hard traveling across the state when one is not 100%. Not to mention he will have a primary opponent he has to contest.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    Yeah, it would be formidable in Illinois. But its DC navel-gazing. They’re very good at that.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    It’s still a ways off to 2016, but looking at polls, Hillary has consistently led all potential Republican candidates by significant margins. This is without Michelle Obama running for anything.

    Hillary absolutely destroys any Democratic challengers in polls. This appears to her time to run for president. The only person who could remotely challenge her on the Democratic side is Elizabeth Warren.


  7. - A. Nonymous - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    Michelle Obama won’t run.

    It’ll be Duckworth v Kirk.


  8. - shore - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    She’d probably be better than every bears linebacker not named lance briggs and even he had a bad season last year.

    I think Democrats best short term bet to beat our states only good statewide elected official of the last decade is a stronger than pat hughes tea party challenge to kirks right emerging-certainly possible-softening him up and then having them find someone with more gravitas than prince alexi. there will be no shortage of resumes from this administration they can draw from and should be quite a few state senators/congresscritters with pent up ambition not realized while lisa/dick/pat/jesse/rahm/toni have held jobs they would have liked to have run for over the last few cycles.

    Democrats have been looking at losing the senate for sometime and I’m sure this thought process has already been ongoing for awhile.


  9. - Colossus - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    It’s an absolute nightmare, both in terms of terror and relation to reality.

    I just was on the receiving end of a “Fire Madigan” spiel from a connected Little Egyptian, and the thought of asking him about this ticket makes me wish to go back and do it all again! As I put it to him at the time, show me the Republican plan for how to fix problems that doesn’t rely on fearmongering about illegal aliens voting or Obama conspiracies and I’ll be happy to listen, until then they have decided to be a party that specializes in losing elections instead of being serious about governing.

    And FWIW (hopefully not a DC talking point), Hillary as the Dem would replicate the enthusiasm of this year’s governor race to the national level. I don’t think that’s a good thing for the (political science definition of) the state. Michelle would be a bigger help here than Hillary in that sense.


  10. - Just Observing - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    === I think she is a great candidate and would win easily ===

    She might be able to beat Kirk but I don’t know if “easily.”


  11. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    It’s a pundit’s fantasy. As a sometime pundit, I prefer to deal in reality. The reality is Michelle Obama actually doesn’t really like politics so I would find this really, really shocking if she did this.


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    ===Every time Obama worked to make a step up the ladder, he had to really coax Michelle along===

    That’s not really true. The US Senate bid was basically an up or out thing for Barack. He could no longer stay in the state legislature and continue working part time as a lawyer. And that predicament wasn’t solely self imposed, if you get the drift.


  13. - MrJM (@MisterJayEm) - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    How true can a rumor be if no one is fundraising off of it?

    – MrJM


  14. - William j Kelly - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    Rahm is so good with the tonight show and hosting Hillary fundraisers He should do it full time. Williamjkellyforchicago.com


  15. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    Yep,

    That would suck….

    I do think Michelle would do better than Hillary…


  16. - Shark Sandwich - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Michelle will run, and use a novel approach to campaigning by selecting outfits that accentuate her respectable muscle tone, particularly her arms. This approach will be so devastating and overwhelming that it will leave Republicans ironically clamoring to close the “Gun Show Loophole”.


  17. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    While it would be novel for voters to consider a female presidential candidate, an African American female senatorial candidate has already succeeded in Illinois, so it would not be such a novelty.

    This means that Clinton may find a percentage of voters eager to see our country elect a woman as president, Obama would not since that percentage of voters eager to see our state elect a woman or an African American woman as a US Senator, would recognize that Braun had been there first.

    Clinton could not have been elected to the US Senate from the Clinton home state of Arkansas. I am sure that there were many Arkansan Democrats eager for her to try her run there. That didn’t mean Arkansas did not favor Democrats, because both US Senate seats were held until recently, by Democrats.

    So it is an assumption on many parts that if Michelle Obama was to begin her solo political career, that the Obama’s home state would be the optimal place for it to begin. Another vacating US Senate seat in another Democratic-leaning state could be a much better place for her to begin, as it was for Clinton.


  18. - Dan Vock - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Another potential complication is that, supposedly, the Obamas are interested in moving to New York City after leaving the White House. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/the-obama-paradox-107304.html


  19. - Aldyth - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    A rumor designed to make a few Republicans hyperventilate.


  20. - Rollo Tomasi - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    The odds of Hillary imploding like Howard Dean are 3 to 1 against. But she will have to control her temper. And it may not be the Republicans whe get her to snap, it maybe the hard left backers of Elizabeth Warren.

    Michelle is another story. The odds are better than even money she could go off. People who worked with her at the U of C hopital, when she actually showed up for work, say she has major league attitude problems.

    The Republicans have there own proble of not having a consensus candidate.


  21. - olddog - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    It’s inside-baseball beltway gossip. For a bit of beltway gossip that has more substance to it, see

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/06/obamas-moving-new-york.html

    If Michelle Obama *were* to run for Senate (or anything else), she’d run in New York state.


  22. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    “Barring something totally unforeseen, it’s a pretty safe bet that Mrs. Clinton will be the Democratic nominee…”

    All due respect, that Could’ve been said in 2006. From Pew in August 2006:

    Clinton 40%
    Gore 18%
    Edwards 11%
    Kerry 11%


  23. - Jon Zahm - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Kirk will not be the 2016 GOP nominee. If he runs he will be defeated in the primary.


  24. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    An Obama run is a Keith Koffler dream. He is a third-rate blogger with an unhealthy obsession with the First Lady. If Obama were even thinking about running, the last person anyone would hand a trial balloon to this guy.

    A good sampling of his “work”:

    Michelle to Students: Police Grandpa’s Speech

    First Lady Michelle Obama Saturday counseled graduating seniors in Topeka, Kansas to tell their closest relatives to put a sock in it if they hear something they don’t like…

    “As you go forth, when you encounter folks who still hold the old prejudices because they’ve only been around folks like themselves, when you meet folks who think they know all the answers because they’ve never heard any other viewpoints, it’s up to you to help them see things differently . . .

    Maybe that starts simply in your own family, when grandpa tells that off-colored joke at Thanksgiving, or you’ve got an aunt talks about “those people.” Well, you can politely inform them that they’re talking about your friends (Applause)

    That’s the problem with big government liberals like Michelle. Ultimately, they think your business is their business.


  25. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Anyone suggesting Michelle Obama might consider running for political office has never met her. This is someone’s strange and stupid fantasy football speculation. I saw this headline on Drudge this morning and my reaction was, who could possibly be spreading this and why? To me, that’s the only interesting angle to this nonstory, and my guess is it’s coming from someone in Mark Kirk’s camp.

    If Hillary Clinton runs, regardless of who else in Illinois is on the ticket, she will generate Democratic turnout equal to what we’ve seen with President Obama’s numbers. Kirk is vulnerable because of the expected huge vote Clinton will deliver in Illinois, but moreso because of his pathetic voting record in the Senate.


  26. - overcooked - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    I have a hard time believing Michelle Obama would want to be part of the club that she and the President hold in such low respect. Anyway, there is too much money on the table in speaking fees and I suspect the life of luxury is more appealing.


  27. - Esteban - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    I recall Hillary as being the “inevitable
    nominee” prior to ‘08. She’s capable of
    fumbling the ball as much as any other front-
    runner has in the past.


  28. - zatoichi - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    Over the next 10 years I could give a couple of $25,000 speeches a month, write some books, do a little TV analysis, chair a national group, and pretty much do what I want or maybe be a Senator. Hmmmmmm…….


  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===Kirk will not be the 2016 GOP nominee. If he runs he will be defeated in the primary.===

    Nope.

    A “Governor Rauner” will be pouring in so much cash that any Primary opponent thinking they can get past both Kirk and Rauner’s Money network will be embarrassed with a loss.

    Kirk can be defeated in the General, but tough road to get him in the Primary. Three and a half out of 5 Kirk is the Nominee.


  30. - Just Observing - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    === Over the next 10 years I could give a couple of $25,000 speeches a month ===

    Probably more in the $50,000 - $75,000 range.


  31. - kimocat - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    I agree with a number of others that a Michelle run is a bit unlikely. However, if she did, I’d support her all the way.


  32. - Jeff Trigg - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    What? And run against that political juggernaut Tio in the primary? She better start jogging to keep up.


  33. - shore - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    This is the only place on the internet where I actually read the comments after the post or even think to and MrJM’s was exactly why and so true and so sad. Well done. Short, original and totally spot on.

    Rich’s point was well taken, one of the things that always astonishes me watching obama is remembering where and who he was in that 2000-2003 period. I never met him like you guys but wished I’d gone to one of the forums he spoke at during that period.


  34. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Michelle will not run in 2016, not while her children are still school age. Will she get into politics at some future point, I don’t know.


  35. - Wumpus - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    =====“She is more likely to play linebacker for the Bears than to run for office,” that source says.=====

    With the the way they played last year, she could have definitely seen the field. Heck, the Obama children could have made the practice team.


  36. - Federalist - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    As far as I am concerned this is all silly talk from the chattering political pundits.

    i do not believe that Michell Obama has any intention of running for the Senate seat.

    And if she did, she would not be a shoe in as many of her supporters in the MSM would like to believe. Unless, of course, the Republicans ran an extremely poor candidate which they seem to have the ability to do.


  37. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    Willy:

    Tru, but Rauner does have to win first.

    I suspect he will get out of politics if he loses.


  38. - The Prince - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    Kirk will get creamed in the primary. He has no business being in the Senate now.


  39. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===Kirk will get creamed in the primary===

    You guys always talk big and then never deliver.


  40. - jake - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    I have never met Michelle Obama, but everything I have read of her suggests she does not have the temperament to run for public office. Which is not a negative criticism.


  41. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    –Kirk will get creamed in the primary. He has no business being in the Senate now.–

    I’m pretty sure he got elected.

    As far as a primary challenge, I doubt if he’s too worried. given the lousy ROI this year on GOP challenges from the right, and the historic lack of success of far-right candidates in Illinois.

    National money will be going to the wide open GOP presidential primary and Kirk has wired himself pretty good to Rauner in hopes of tapping that fundraising network.


  42. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    - YDD -,

    Tru dat to you too.

    Mark Kirk is not going to lose in the Primary;

    The Right has no one that has the financials, the campaign skill set, the Ground Game base, or the drumbeat support to win.

    Can’t be somebody with nobody.


  43. - The Prince - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    If Rauner is not Governor, he will be less inclined to support Kirk.


  44. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    ===he will be less inclined to support Kirk===

    Don’t worry, y’all will screw that up all by yourselves with our without Rauner on the other side.


  45. - Federalist - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    Kirk may have a more difficult time in the primary than in a general election.


  46. - Wumpus - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    As for Kirk, it depends on his health. I hope he can hold onto the senate seat, but I am not certain. Oberweis wil run a tough primary. Of course, he will have to step down from senate after he defeats Durbin this year.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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