President Barack Obama's approval rating hit a new low this week as fallout from the disastrous health care rollout mounted.
The plummeting job rating could limit the president's ability to get much done the last three years of his term. But it has even bigger ramifications for the most prominent Democrat who hopes to succeed him in 2016: Hillary Clinton.
Clinton is clearly aware of this problem and taking early steps to run not as Obama's successor but as his antidote, a pragmatic, business friendly moderate who will ease the constant partisan strife in Washington and focus all her energy on creating jobs and growing the economy.
The signs of her early efforts to move away from Obama are subtle but unmistakable. As Philip Rucker noted in The Washington Post this week, Clinton's recent speeches, along with those of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, tend to roast everyone in Washington for creating a climate corrosive to economic expansion.
Both Clintons train most of their rhetorical fire on Republicans. But their message extends to the entirety of the Washington power structure, which tacitly includes Obama.
(Read more: It's crisis time for Obamacare)
"We are careening from crisis to crisis instead of having a plan, bringing people to that plan, focusing on common-sense solutions and being relentless in driving toward them," Hillary Clinton said at the Center for American Progress last week in a speech that could easily have come from a corporate CEO.
The movement away from Obama is also clear in Clinton's relationship with financial industry leaders in New York.
Obama still turns up in Manhattan for fundraising events he detests. But Wall Street long ago gave up on the idea of having any real relationship with or influence on the president, who spent a good bit of time ripping financial executives as "fat cats" standing in the way of reform. Obama has also shown more interest in what elite opinion columnists have to say than he has in listening to corporate executives.