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WASHINGTON – Before Hillary Clinton decides what she will do after resigning as secretary of state, she ought to consider that top Democratic operatives are already positioning a challenger who could disrupt any presidential hopes every bit as much as Barack Obama did in 2008.

Very quietly, WND has learned, support is building behind the scenes among top Democratic Party operatives close to Obama to position Attorney General Eric Holder to run for president in 2016, expressing a determination to succeed Obama with a virtual political clone.

On Nov. 19, just two weeks after the 2012 presidential election, Fox News announced Holder had decided to honor Obama’s request to remain on as attorney general “for about a year” into the start of Obama’s second term.

Then, on Dec. 3, Fox News reported Eric Holder’s chief of staff, Gary Grindler, a “top adviser” to Holder who had played a key role in obtaining a $4 billion settlement from BP over the Gulf oil spill, had decided to leave the Justice Department.

Before serving as chief of staff for Holder, Grindler served as acting deputy attorney general, the No. 2 position within the Justice Department.

According to the Fox News report, a Justice Department spokesman attributed Grindler’s departure to be the result of a normal turnover between administrations.

Yet, congressional Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious scandal had targeted Grindler for not acting after receiving a law-enforcement briefing on the gun-walking operation on March 12, several months before the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives launched its investigation.

A report by the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded Grindler was negligent in failing to notify Holder when he learned guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder in December 2010 traced back to Fast and Furious.

Cynically viewed, Grindler’s departure removes a target from the sights of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigating Fast and Furious.

Should Holder run for president in 2016, his candidacy would provide a strong counter to Clinton, if she decides to run.

As secretary of state during Obama’s first term in office, Clinton could reasonably expect to have Obama’s endorsement if she runs for president, but a Holder candidacy would complicate matters.

With a Holder nomination for president in 2016, the political left would hope to hold together the modern-day version of FDR’s New Deal coalition that voted Obama a second term in this year’s presidential election.

Holder is likely to draw similar percentages to Obama among inner-city African-American voters.

Given the Justice Department’s strong opposition to Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on immigration issues, Holder is likely to repeat Obama’s gains with Hispanic voters, including any illegal immigrants who might be deemed eligible to vote in 2016.

Holder’s enforcement of workplace rights should also appeal to single women, including single mothers and radical feminists, as well as union workers and SEIU government workers.

Democratic Party insiders expect Holder to stay in the Justice Department for at least one year, or as long as it takes to defuse any continuing investigation of Fast and Furious that Issa might yet have the political capital to sustain.

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