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Pelosi urges Clinton to run in 2016

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(CNN) – The top Democrat in the House is urging Hillary Clinton to run for office, and says their party is already coalescing around the potential 2016 candidate.

In an interview Thursday with USA Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said "there's a great deal of excitement" about a potential Clinton candidacy, adding that she personally hopes Clinton enters the race.

Touting the former senator and secretary of state's long list of credentials, Pelosi said she believes Clinton "would be the best prepared person to enter the White House in decades."

Pelosi made similar comments in May, speaking at a panel discussion in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2008, Pelosi - who was then speaker of the House - remained officially neutral in that year's Democratic primary between Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton has not announced whether she will launch another presidential bid, which has been the subject of intense speculation, since she stepped down as Secretary of State earlier this year.

Pelosi's comments came on the same day a group of Democratic donors met with top Clinton allies in New York to discuss funding an independent political action committee that is urging Clinton to run.

The Ready for Hillary PAC was established by Clinton supporters in January – before she had officially left her State Department post – and has since worked to beef up its fundraising infrastructure, garnering the attention of high-profile Clinton allies and donors in the process.

Last week, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill became the first member of Congress to throw her support behind the PAC and a Clinton run. But New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand followed up soon after, announcing that she was "personally urging Secretary Clinton to run." Gillibrand filled Clinton's Senate seat, when she became Secretary of State in 2009.

While Pelosi stopped short of formally endorsing Clinton, saying the timing was inappropriate, she nevertheless said she would be ready to do so in the future.

"I don't know why she wouldn't run," Pelosi told USA Today.  "She's prepared, she's well known, she's highly respected. She knows she would be able to do the job so very, very well."

–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

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