Strickland Says Democrats Face Uphill Battle in 2014, Backs Hillary In 2016

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UPDATED: Friday March 28, 2014 2:25 PM

Former Governor Ted Strickland, appearing on 10TVs Capitol Square, acknowledged the uphill fight that many Democratic candidates face this fall.

"I think this could be a very difficult year for Democrats," said Strickland.  "Here in Ohio, I am very hopeful that Democrats will do well across the board, but it's a challenge."

Strickland, who lost his reelection bid for governor four years ago, said the political winds in 2014 seem to be similar to those in 2010 when Republicans swept every statewide office in Ohio and scored big gains nationally.

"If Democrats were to lose the senate it would be very, very difficult for the Obama administration to have an agenda enacted during his last two years," said Strickland.  "2014 is going to be a challenging year nationally for Democrats, but I think that's going to open the possibility of a very good 2016."

Strickland says he is supporting Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 if she decides to run.  He also backed her in 2008 during her bitter primary fight with Barack Obama.

Clinton won Ohio’s presidential primary in 2008, although Obama went on to win the Democratic nomination.

"If and when she announces, and I think she will, I've indicated to her that whatever I can do to be helpful I will," said Strickland.  "I think she'll be a great President.  I told her one of the things I want to do before I leave the political scene is to help you have one more chance to become president."

Looking to this fall, Strickland said Governor John Kasich - despite moderating his message since the defeat of SB5 in 2011 - could end up in a tight race with likely Democratic nominee Ed FitzGerald.

"My concern is, quite frankly, for the union supporters in this state, that if he is reelected that we could see a Right to Work initiative during that lame duck session of the legislature," said Strickland.  "I don't believe he has changed his values or his political thinking.  I think he has changed his tactics.  Once he's reelected, he could revert back to the John Kasich that we saw in the first months of his governorship."

Strickland says he backs a Columbus bid to host either the Republican or Democratic Convention in 2016.

"I think Columbus is the ideal location, quite frankly.  It's the center of the state of Ohio," said Strickland.  "It has all of the resources that is necessary.  It's a very inclusive city thanks to Mayor Coleman's leadership and the business community."

Strickland starts on Tuesday as the new President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, DC.

"It's a great organization and I want to lead it as we talk about the things that are important to average working families in this country," said Strickland.  "Jobs, tax fairness, the ability to get a decent education, minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits: all the things that are so important to just average Ohioans and average Americans."

As he heads to Washington, Strickland admits he misses being on the campaign trail.

"I do miss it, I miss being engaged in the debate," said Strickland.

You can watch the interview with Governor Strickland this Sunday morning on Capitol Square.  It airs at 11:30 am, following Face the Nation, on 10TV.

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