SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – A former aide to President Bush says the 2008 Democratic nomination for president is all Hillary Rodham Clinton’s if she wants it.

But former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said Clinton, now a Democratic senator representing New York, has no chance of actually becoming president.

Fleischer’s comments were made Friday as he spoke at an Oneida County luncheon attended by supporters of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford.

Fleischer said there’s not a Democrat anywhere in the country that can beat Mrs. Clinton in a Democratic primary.

“She is the passion of the party,” Fleischer said.

Still, he said while there’s no clear successor to George W. Bush, he predicted another Republican will ultimately take the White House again in 2008. Fleischer said Democrats have become the party of Fahrenheit 9-11 filmaker Michael Moore and the liberal wing, which he claims is out of touch with a nation that is becoming increasingly conservative.

Polls have shown Clinton leading the field for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Nonetheless, the former first lady and her top aides maintain her focus is on winning a second Senate term in 2006, and they have stopped talking publicly about the White House and the next presidential election.

Even so, veteran Republican operative Arthur Finkelstein on Friday launched a campaign called “Stop Her Now,” featuring telephone calls aimed at “spreading the truth about Hillary Clinton and her dangerous plans for our country.”

William Black, a Virginia-based political fundraiser who is executive director of the Stop Her Now effort, said he would like to raise about $10 million this year through the telephone calls, a direct-mail campaign that will be launched later and through the Web site, www.StopHerNow.com.

Black said he hoped to begin the TV ad campaign sometime this year.


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