Priorities USA Boosts Hillary Clinton for 2016

Super PAC supported Obama in 2012, now tips hat to Hillary.

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Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination just got a big boost. Leaders of the high-powered team that helped to re-elect President Barack Obama in 2012 are now rallying to Clinton's side, even though she says she hasn't decided whether to run for president again in 2016.

What is stirring huge interest in the political community is the announcement that Priorities USA Action, a "super political action committee" that previously supported Obama, will now line up with Clinton and begin raising money, especially from big donors, in case she runs.

Several of Obama's top aides and supporters from his past political operations have also signed up with Priorities, including Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager in 2012. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is urging Clinton to run in 2016, has also jumped aboard. Messina and Granholm will be co-chairmen of the super PAC and an affiliated organization.

 

Other Obama veterans backing Clinton include Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart, who are working with Ready for Hillary, a pro-Clinton super PAC that is focusing on small donors and building lists of supporters around the country.

[READ: Hillary Clinton Readies California Tour]

"I think the numbers clearly show that she's the strongest presidential candidate on the Democratic side," Messina told the New York Times. "And Priorities is going to be there for her if she decides to run." The Times first reported the story of the shift of Priorities to Clinton.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, told the Times, "While they are an independent entity acting on their own, their enthusiasm is flattering. In the end, though, only she can make that very personal decision and as she has said, she won't be doing so any time soon."

Organizers of Priorities indicated that their main goals will be to raise money, mine data to find persuadable voters as effectively as the Obama campaign did in 2012, defend Clinton, and go on the offensive against Republicans as Priorities did against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

[READ: Ready for Hillary Makes Millions With Cool Parties, Cheap Tickets]

The movement of the Obama activists to Clinton is a blow to other potential Democratic candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden, who is also considering a presidential run in 2016.

Clinton is a former secretary of state under Obama, U.S. senator from New York and first lady when Bill Clinton was president for eight years. She lost the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination to Obama but served him loyally as the nation's chief diplomat during his first term.

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.