On The O'Reilly Factor, Dick Morris predicted that Sen. Hillary Clinton would challenge President-elect Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in the 2012 presidential election. But some of Morris' past attempts at political prognostication have been wildly off the mark. Morris' latest prediction is also inconsistent with his assertion in April that "[o]bviously, if Obama beats [Sen. John] McCain, Hillary is out of the picture until 2016."
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On the December 3 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News analyst and syndicated columnist Dick Morris asked host Bill O'Reilly, "Do you believe [Sen.] Hillary Clinton will run a primary against [President-elect] Barack Obama for president in 2012?" After O'Reilly responded, "Yes," Morris said, "Damn right she will." Later in the segment, Morris added that Obama has "built in to his administration the seeds of his own destruction." But as a prognosticator of political events, as Media Matters for America has documented, Morris has at times been wildly off the mark. Morris' latest prediction is also inconsistent with his April 25 column, in which he wrote: "Does Hillary want to beat up Obama so that he can't win the general election in November, assuring [Sen. John] McCain of the presidency so that she can have a clear field to run again in 2012? Obviously, if Obama beats McCain, Hillary is out of the picture until 2016, by which time, at 69 years old, she might be too old to run."
As Media Matters documented, in columns in The Hill and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and appearances on Fox News in 2005, Morris repeatedly touted New York Republican Jeanine Pirro's 2006 Senate campaign against Clinton. Morris asserted, regarding Clinton running for a second Senate term, "[T]he first thing I would tell Hillary, if I were advising Hillary, is you're crazy to run for the Senate." He also asserted that Clinton "might just take a pass" rather than face Pirro in the election, and even stated, "My bet is that Clinton thinks the better of it and drops out of the race if Pirro comes on strong." However, it was Pirro -- not Clinton -- who, trailing badly in polls, dropped out of the race on December 21, 2005.
Morris also predicted that Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY) would defeat Clinton in the 2000 New York Senate race. One day prior to the election, on the November 6, 2000, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Morris asserted: "I think Lazio is, at this point, more likely to win it than Hillary, because, if Hillary is at 48 percent -- or even at 49 percent, or even at 50 percent -- a lot of her vote of minorities, a lot of her -- who have no real reason to vote in the presidential race." Lazio lost to Clinton by more than 12 percentage points, even though he outspent her by nearly $11 million.
Morris also made significantly off-base predictions about the 2008 presidential election. According to his final predicted electoral map, released on October 27, Morris labeled Arkansas "lean Obama." McCain won Arkansas by 20 percentage points, and according to Pollster.com, Obama led in that state in only one poll throughout the entire race -- by two percentage points in a June 11-30 Zogby Internet survey. Morris' final electoral map also had Louisiana and Tennessee as "tossup" states; McCain won each of these states by at least 15 percentage points.
From the December 3 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: I don't mind Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. I'm thinking she has a certain gravitas out there, and I think she's pretty tough. You would agree with that. She's tough.
MORRIS: She's -- she's tough. She's to the right of him, which is good.
MORRIS: She'd be tougher on national security issues, and I think she'd be good from that point of view. My concern --
O'REILLY: All right, so you have no problem --
MORRIS: My concern -- and I think, by the way, the disclosure deal that Bill has agreed to isn't a bad one, about Dubai and all that stuff. The thing that worries me from Obama's point of view about Hillary Clinton -- let's follow your logic. Let's say there's a terror attack. And let's say Obama's popularity drops. Let's say the economy doesn't improve, and his popularity's down around 27 percent. Do you believe Hillary Clinton will run a primary against Barack Obama for president --
MORRIS: -- in 2012? Damn right she will.
O'REILLY: Yeah, everybody knows that.
MORRIS: From -- from the State Department.
MORRIS: Yeah, a week before she does.
MORRIS: It's just like when Johnson --
MORRIS: -- inherited Bobby Kennedy at the Justice Department.
MORRIS: She'll go for it.
O'REILLY: And, yeah, and run against him like Kennedy and [inaudible].
MORRIS: So what Obama is doing is he's built in to his administration the seeds of his own destruction.
O'REILLY: I don't know about that. She'd run against him anyway --
MORRIS: Yeah, but --
O'REILLY: -- if she were the senator from New York.
MORRIS: Yeah, but she wouldn't have the rationale that, "This guy thought I was so qualified he put me in charge of foreign policy."
O'REILLY: This is where -- this is where you go off the cliff. If she's gonna run, if she sees him in trouble, no matter where she is --
MORRIS: Yes, but the credential --
O'REILLY: But I think it was a smart pick.
MORRIS: But the credential of secretary of state would make that candidacy so much more powerful.