UPDATED 8:32 a.m. ET
President Obama should give up on the idea of another four years in office, paving the way for Hillary Clinton to run as the Democratic nominee, two Democratic pollsters wrote in Monday's Wall Street Journal.
Doug Schoen, who worked for Bill Clinton, and Pat Caddell, who worked for Jimmy Carter, argued that Obama should follow the example of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, who each decided not to run again.
"He should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president's accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," they wrote, reviving an argument they first made in the Washington Post a year ago.
The crux of their argument is based on the notion that Mr. Obama would be ineffective in his second term because he will be forced to run a negative campaign to win.
"By going down the re-election road and into partisan mode, the president has effectively guaranteed that the remainder of his term will be marred by the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity, common purpose, and most of all, our economic strength," they wrote.
But if Mr. Obama were to step aside for Hillary, it would be good for both Democrats and the country, they argued, "not only is Mrs. Clinton better positioned to win in 2012 than Mr. Obama, but she is better positioned to govern if she does."
"If President Obama were to withdraw, he would put great pressure on the Republicans to come to the table and negotiate--especially if the president singularly focused in the way we have suggested on the economy, job creation, and debt and deficit reduction. By taking himself out of the campaign, he would change the dynamic from who is more to blame--George W. Bush or Barack Obama?--to a more constructive dialogue about our nation's future," they wrote.
The two pollsters insisted they were not betraying their party and said they had not been in touch with the Secretary of State or her political aides. They do not say the same about Mr. Clinton.
"We write as patriots and Democrats--concerned about the fate of our party and, most of all, our country. We do not write as people who have been in contact with Mrs. Clinton or her political operation. Nor would we expect to be directly involved in any Clinton campaign," they wrote.
Asked by CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell last week if she would run for president again, Clinton said "no, no."
"I had a great run, I was very grateful that I could do that. I felt just really good about the experience but that was then and this is now and I'm looking forward," she said.