In part two of DCspectator's interview with GOP consultant Roger Stone, Hillary's '08 challenges and the '08 GOP presidential primary are discussed: DCs: Lots of Republicans I talk to here in town think, flatly, that Hillary is unelectable and cannot possibly ever be elected President, which, frankly, is total B.S. You agree? Hillary_4 RS: Oh, she most definitely can win. But I think it is not likely, but I don't think it's by any means outside the realm of possibility. Politics is about having a base, and she's got a sizable base in this country; quite sizable and able to be mobilized. She'll have access to vast sums of money. I'm told Terry McAuliffe is telling Democratic finance guys that he's going to raise almost $800 million - and he can do that in my opinion - and she's not going to lack for excellent political advice from her husband, who is quite Nixonian in his strategic thinking. DCs: What about Mark Warner? He's an impressive guy, actually, but he lacks the experience on the national stage that really takes the measure of a politician. Is he more than just the flavor of the month alternative to Hillary? RS: Back up, first we need to talk more about Hillary. Here's her fundamental problem in my view: She has moved to the center too soon. There has been an assumption made that she cannot be assailed from the left; that her persona and agenda is left-enough that the left stays locked down, and therefore has safely moved to the center on the war and national security issues. I think she has moved too soon - there's real vulnerability for her on the war. The war has the potential to be the defining issue in the 2008 race as it was in 1968. I believe the strongest candidate to give her a real run for the nomination isn't Warner or anyone else - it's former Vice-President Al Gore. One, he has the stature - he was Vice President. Two, he has a network of people in all 50 states. Third, he has so many issues he can say he was right about. Four, there is an underlying feeling he was cheated out of the presidency among democrats, and fifth, he's clean on the war. In fact, he's been an articulate critic, but in a most Nixonian way has picked his shots; he's done it in thoughtful speeches in front of important audiences, and hasn't done too much of it - just when he has something important to say. He's handled himself quite well as of late, and he also has the excellent opportunity -- again like Nixon - to present himself as the "New Gore" - that he's had time to think about the great problems of the day; that he has the perspective, and has looked back on the war, and that he's going to run to save his party and country. The rationale is there. DCs: As far as the GOP in 2008 is concerned, the McCain attempt to reconcile with the evangelical community is front and center. Will it work? RS: Here's the bottom line: McCain is quietly and skillfully picking up large pieces of political real estate in the GOP. I think he'll have a surprising number of commitments from his Senate colleagues, Republican Governors and Bush money guys and operatives who were not with him last time. He's touched base with the Cuban community in Miami; He's tying down important Republican constituencies. I don't think he expects to be the toast of the religious right or evangelical movement, but he's not ill-advised to try to dampen their enmity for him. It's all upside. It's hard to see why they're so angry on social issues - he's a very conservative guy. Here's the problem for McCain: in the ideal world, he needs a candidate to his left. It would have been aMccain great thing for McCain if Rudy had run. Rudy is decidedly to McCain's left, and in such a contest he'd be the conservative alternative to Giuliani. With no Giuliani in the race - and I don't think Rudy's running for president, as much as I think he should - I don't think he will, and this makes [McCain's] primary race somewhat more complicated. So as McCain becomes the party establishment, someone will attempt to emerge to challenge him on his right. Will it be Mitt Romney? Will it be George Allen, or someone else? I'm really impressed with what I've see of Mitt Romney thus far. He's got the same earnestness as his father, he's impressive on the stump, and he's tactfully moved right on a whole host of issues in preparation for this contest - stem cell, abortion, gambling. Keep an eye on him. George Allen is hampered at the moment by his Senate election - it's more of just an irritant, it will end up a race. The Republican Party is in for a very difficult election season and its going to be a very tough year w/ Republicans on the defense. Friday: Stone looks at the '06 New Jersey Senate race between Tom Kean Jr. and Robert Menendez. Posted on April 06, 2006 at 02:05 PM