Aug 10, 2011 11:59 PM GMT
President Barack Obama is facing mounting doubts within his own party about his re-election prospects, with fellow Democrats beginning to ask if Hillary Clinton would have made a better president.
Mr Reid added that the president remained a formidable campaigner and fund-raiser and should not be ruled out of the fight in 2012. But he said some Democrats were feeling "buyer's remorse" for selecting the president in his epic battle with Mrs Clinton for the 2008 Democratic nomination.
"The notion everyone is talking about is 'is he Jimmy Carter or will he be a one-term president'," he said.
Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist in North Carolina, a swing state Mr Obama is likely to struggle to retain in 2012, said: "Democrats are worried. He looks weak, he doesn't say anything that grabs you, and people are looking for some kind of magic."
He said some activists were asking "do we need someone tougher to fight the tea party?" "You see a yearning for a Bill Clinton-type approach and Hillary would reflect that. Obama is just a different political animal, he is a low-key guy," he added.
Mr Obama's approval rating has fallen dramatically since the killing of Osama bin Laden in early May, and he has failed to outline a vision for how he will improve chronic unemployment and a housing market in which one if five mortgage holders are in negative equity.
A 2012 primary challenge by Mrs Clinton is currently regarded as unlikely, but growing number of party activists and old hands are hoping that she changes her mind.