2016 Presidential Predictions: Who Will the Candidates Be?

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2016 Presidential Predictions: Who Will the Candidates Be?
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Governor Mitt Romney

COMMENTARY | Will the third time be the charm for Mitt Romney?

Twice in his political career so far, Mitt Romney has managed to flip defeats into victories.

Although he lost to Ted Kennedy in the 1994 Massachusetts Senate race, Romney soon bounced back as leader of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics. That job led to his successful run for Massachusetts governor in 2002.

From the governor's office, Romney catapulted to the national stage and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He eventually bowed out after a string of Super Tuesday losses to Arizona Sen. John McCain, but over time jockeyed himself into position to seek -- and receive -- the 2012 GOP nomination.

Is Romney perfectly poised to be the Republican nominee again in 2016? At this stage of the game, he certainly carries more name recognition than any other potential contender, with the possible exception of former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

The former presidential candidate hasn't yet revealed anything about how he intends to spend the next four years, and is keeping mum on if he might run again. But given that he pulled an impressive 206 electoral votes in 2012, don't count Romney out for 2016.

The frontrunner on the Democratic side is undoubtedly Hillary Clinton, although she has recently downplayed her interest in another presidential run. After stepping down from her post as Secretary of State in January 2013, the former first lady told ABC News she would like do some "reading and writing and speaking and teaching."

But the Democratic Party likely has much bigger plans for Hillary.

David Axelrod, President Obama's political oracle, has all but declared Hillary Clinton to be the Unsinkable Molly Brown should she decide to run in 2016.

"I think she'd be very strong," Axelrod said. "First of all, having been engaged in a primary race with her ... she is an indefatigable candidate and very, very powerful and she's only stronger now for having four years of I think splendid leadership" as secretary of State.

"She'd be in a very, very strong position," he added. "I think the reality of a woman getting elected the president of the United States may be an even more powerful incentive in 2016."

A December 2012 ABC News-Washington Post poll showed that 57 percent of Americans said they'd support a run by Hillary Clinton to succeed President Obama in the oval office.

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