JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban, a major donor to the U.S. Democratic party, said on Friday he would back former secretary of state Hillary Clinton with his “full might” should she run for president in 2016.
Clinton, 66, whose four-year tenure as U.S. secretary of state ended in February, has said she is considering running for the presidency but that she will most probably decide next year.
As a candidate, she would be widely viewed as the favorite for the Democratic nomination - which she contested in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama, who is in his second term.
Billionaire financier George Soros, another party bankroller, also pledged support for the wife of former President Bill Clinton last month.
“I hope she will run. She would be a wonderful president,” Saban told Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. “If it happens, we will of course pitch in with full might. Seeing her in the White House is a big dream of mine.”
Saban, producer of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, gave $1 million to three Democratic political action committees in 2012, when Obama won reelection.
Another potential Democratic candidate in the 2016 race is Vice President Joe Biden. A Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll in September found him nearly 40 percentage points behind Clinton.
Some Biden supporters have questioned whether Obama was showing sufficient support for him after a new book about the 2012 campaign, “Double Down”, said the president had weighed replacing him on the ticket with Clinton.
Obama did not deny that his political aides had pre-tested the idea, but said he would have rejected it.
“I think that if Vice President Biden decides to run, Obama will stay neutral, but if Biden does not run and she does, he will support her,” Saban said. “The general feeling is that Hillary is Obama’s natural successor.”
Reuters/Ipsos polling has shown Clinton to be Americans’ top choice for president, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as her closest potential challenger among rival Republicans.
Americans preferred Clinton over Christie by 19 points, the September poll said.
Writing by Dan Williams, editing by Elizabeth Piper