Mitt Romney’s top strategist Stuart Stevens has derided Clinton’s bid for the White House as a ‘step back in time’.
The Romney aide told reporters that: “Electing Hillary Rodham Clinton would be like going back in time. She’s been around since the ’70s.”
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told a conservative conference that the 2016 Democratic field was ‘a rerun of ‘The Golden Girls’.
And the report says that Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, seizing on the Fleetwood Mac song that became a Clinton family anthem, quipped to an audience in Washington, “If you want to keep thinking about tomorrow, maybe it’s time to put somebody new in.”
The paper says that while the 2016 election may be far off, but one theme is becoming clear: Republican strategists and presidential hopefuls, in ways subtle and overt, are eager to focus a spotlight on Clinton’s age.
Hillary Clinton will be 69 by the next presidential election, a generation it says removed from most of the possible Republican candidates.
Republican strategist Karl Rove said: “Perhaps in the Democratic primary and certainly in the general election, there’s going to be an argument that the time for a change of leadership has come.
“The idea that we’re at the end of her generation and that it’s time for another to step forward is certainly going to be compelling.”
The paper says: “A yesterday-versus-tomorrow argument against a woman who could be the last major-party presidential nominee from the baby boom generation would be a historically rich turnabout.”
A Republican approach that calls attention to Clinton’s age is not without peril, and Democrats predict it could backfire.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic minority leader and first female speaker, said: “They would go to that place at their own risk. Age is like art - it’s a matter of interpretation.”
Clinton has yet to confirm a 2016 run and has returned to the speaking circuit and plunged back into the public policy conversation.
The report says she has sought to effect a ‘with-it sensibility, not only creating a Twitter account but also using a picture of herself in dark sunglasses for an avatar and posting about taking selfies.
“If Clinton seems to know what awaits her, that may be because Republicans have let on about how they will frame the 2016 contest.
“Alarmed over President Obama’s success with younger voters in the last two White House campaigns, Republican officials are bickering over how to appeal to them, with some advocating moderation on social issues like same-sex marriage and others focusing on improving tactics and the use of technology. But there is an emerging consensus that the party stands a better chance by contrasting a younger nominee with Clinton.”
Senator Marco Rubio, a 42-year-old Florida Republican, has coined a ‘Facebook generation’ term for millennials and is courting young voters with denouncements of the surveillance state.
The paper says that besides Jeb Bush, 60, a former Florida governor who is seen in Republican circles as unlikely to run, the Republican field for 2016 largely consists of hopefuls in their 40s and early 50s. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey turned 50 last year.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, 42, said: “The reality is, when you look at the Democrats, they’ve got old, tired ideas being produced by old, tired candidates.”
The report adds that of all the would-be candidates, Paul may be the most heavily engaged in trying to build younger support as he has seized on recent disclosures about surveillance by the National Security Agency and has argued that millennials would favor someone with his security views over the more hawkish former secretary of state.
He said of Clinton: “If anything, she’s even more aggressive on foreign policy and more aggressive on giving power to the security state than the president. My mix of libertarianism and federalism resonates with young voters.
“The youth are attracted to people who don’t want to lock them up and throw away the key for marijuana,” he said. “In some ways, the older Democrats have become more staid and status-quo-like than some of us Republicans.”