(CBS News)-- Hillary Clinton would be a nearly invincible force, Democrats and Republicans agreed today, should the Secretary of State validate rampant speculation that she will mount a second presidential run when she steps down from her administration post early next year.
It would be "virtually impossible" for Clinton, who tallied a 75 percent approval rating in a Siena poll last week, to lose the Democratic nomination if she sought it, former House Speaker and 2012 GOP candidate Newt Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press." And the Republican Party in its currently hashed state, he added, would be "incapable" of competing against her in the general election.
"If [Democrats'] competitor in '16 is going to be Hillary Clinton," Gingrich said, "supported by [former President] Bill Clinton, and, presumably a still relatively popular President Barack Obama, trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl."
Whether or not to attach herself to her husband's endeavors, the New York Times suggested today, is on a list of things to consider before throwing her hat into the 2016 ring. Former President Clinton told "Face the Nation" in September that he has "no Earthly idea" whether Hillary would seek the office again but voiced his full-throated support for the idea.
She's "tired," Mr. Clinton said. "She wants to take some time off, kind of regroup. Write a book."
But authoring a tell-all about her experiences would be among the private, leisurely pursuits that would have to fall to the backburner in the face of what would be a highly publicized presidential campaign. Mrs. Clinton has denied harboring any desire to weather another election - but, analysts have pointed out, she said the same thing before announcing her run in 2008.
Longtime friend and aide to the Clintons James Carville said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" today he doesn't know what she's going to do, "but I do know this: The Democrats want her to run. And I don't just mean a lot of Democrats; I mean a whole lot of Democrats - like 90 percent across the country.
"...We just want to win," he continued, adding "across the board," "We think she's the best person."
Being the early frontrunner, though, has not treated Mrs. Clinton kindly in the past, the Times pointed out: What was considered to be a shoo-in bid in '08 became a painful upset with the rise of then-freshman Sen. Obama. Gingrich conceded, "I thought she was frankly going to be the nominee in '08, and I went all through the spring of '08 thinking she would beat Obama."
Carville's wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, argued that Mrs. Clinton wouldn't have a perfectly smooth ride to the nomination this time around, either.
"I love Hillary," she said on ABC. "I wish she would run. But it defies human nature to think that Democrats, even though they are redistributionist and utopians, would not be competitive - that [Virginia Sen. Mark] Warner, or all these other Democrats who've been waiting in the wings, are going to... have another Clinton step up."
Bloomberg News Chief White House Correspondent Julianna Goldman predicted on "Meet the Press" that Democrats like Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer would offer formidable primary challenges, but said she believes if Mrs. Clinton runs, she "clears the field." Liberal MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, meanwhile, sought to eliminate the "if" entirely from Clinton 2012 chatter.
"No doubt about it," he said of Mrs. Clinton. "The reason it's easy for you to get Democratic insiders to say she's absolutely running is because she's absolutely running."
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