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Originally published April 4, 2013 at 5:09 PM | Page modified April 5, 2013 at 6:39 AM

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Political consultant Carville pushes Hillary Clinton for president

Strategist James Carville’s endorsement of a super PAC promoting a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential run in 2016 gives a boost to the group’s fledgling efforts.

Tribune Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON — Democratic strategist James Carville has thrown his weight behind a new super PAC that is promoting a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential run in 2016.

The Ready for Hillary PAC has no formal connection to the former first lady and secretary of state, who hasn’t ruled out another presidential try but has yet to announce a plan to do so. But Carville’s involvement takes the group’s fledgling efforts up at least a notch by adding what appears to be a semiofficial imprimatur by a well-known Clinton ally.

“The enthusiasm and hunger for a Hillary Clinton presidency is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Carville, a political consultant instrumental in Bill Clinton’s rise to the White House, wrote in an email distributed Thursday by the PAC.

The purpose behind his pitch, according to Carville, is to create the grass-roots infrastructure for Hillary Clinton’s potential campaign. In the email, he draws an explicit link between the pro-Hillary PAC’s efforts and the online organizing by Barack Obama that became a hallmark of his political success.

Unlike Obama’s formidable digital operation, the pro-Hillary PAC is legally required to operate outside of any formal Clinton campaign operation. That gives the new organization freedom to raise unlimited amounts of money but also prevents it from coordinating directly with the candidate’s campaign.

Carville says in his email that Democrats are more united behind a 2016 Clinton candidacy than they have been for any presidential contender in his lifetime. Recent polling, while early for a campaign that is years away, bears out his claim. It shows Clinton with a larger lead over other potential nominees than any nonincumbent Democratic candidate in the modern era.

It “isn’t worth squat to have the fastest car at the racetrack if there ain’t any gas in the tank,” says Carville. “We need to convert the hunger that’s out there for Hillary’s candidacy into a real grass-roots organization.”

The super PAC, set up this year by two longtime Hillary Clinton supporters, has hired three full-time staff members and organized rallies to promote a Clinton candidacy.

Clinton, who is writing a memoir expected to be published next year, has maintained a small staff in a Washington, D.C., office; the workers did not respond to a request for comment on Carville’s email.

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