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Buckley Calls Clinton a Contender to Be President
By Heidi Przybyla and Judy Woodruff
April 3, 2006

April 3 (Bloomberg) -- William F. Buckley Jr., the longtime conservative writer and leader, said that while a strong Republican candidate for the 2008 presidential race has yet to emerge, the Democrats have in Senator Hillary Clinton a true contender to become the first woman elected U.S. president.

"I don't find a commanding presence sort of knocking on the door" for the next presidential campaign, Buckley said in an interview broadcast today on Bloomberg Television.

Clinton, of New York, is "a very consequential woman with an extraordinary background," he said. "Her thought is kind of woozy left, not in my judgment threatening."

She is "a phenomenon, a woman candidate who might easily be president," Buckley said.

Arizona Senator John McCain, the most widely known of the potential Republican candidates, is "a remarkable human being," Buckley said. "I don't think that his name comes to mind automatically as somebody who over a period of years has addressed problems with fruitful thinking, let alone with consistent thinking."

Neither senator has announced plans to seek their party nominations, though both have been raising money, making campaign appearances on behalf of other candidates and taking other steps to build a network of national support.

The 80-year-old Buckley, often called the father of contemporary conservatism in America, founded the National Review in 1955. His philosophy, articulated in the magazine, calls for small government, low taxes and a strong defense. Both Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater said they were influenced by his writing and that of others in the magazine.

Buckley also said he found the business community's contribution to society during most of the period from the 1950s to 1970s "disappointing" because of "their refusal to encourage an intellectual light. Now, that has changed."

"There are a number of foundations and colleges that take seriously the teaching of liberalism and libertarian life" with the assistance of business leaders, he said. "But I don't think a historian looking back on the last 50 years of the 20th century will have any reason to speak with convincing pride about the role of the American businessmen in public policy."

To contact the reporter on this story:
Heidi Przybyla in Boston at  hprzybyla@bloomberg.net.

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