“One of the most beautiful ladies I ever met, I met in the rain. High heels and wet pavement…”-John Hoyt, “Brute Force” (1947)

In two of last weekend’s biggest political stories, Black businessman Herman Cain trounced frontrunner Rick Perry in Florida’s important Republican presidential straw poll, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to be reconsidering a run for the GOP nomination in the wake of urging by the likes of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both developments could spell trouble for Barack Hussein Obama in 2012.

Another, perhaps bigger story is the intriguing rumor that has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pondering a possible primary challenge to Obama. Why? The president’s plummeting poll numbers, the terrible economy and growing discontent among Democrats-including some members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

For example, last month fiery U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) took Obama to task for ignoring Black communities on his ballyhooed bus tour. “We don’t know why on this trip that he’s not in any Black community. We don’t know that. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment rate is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is,” she said.

Making matters worse, a Sept. 23 USA Today-Gallup Poll found that 56 percent feel Obama has been a worse president than George W. Bush, and 53 percent blame Obama for the bad economy-not Bush.

An early, positive sign for Clinton may have been the Republican win in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th congressional district in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the disgraced Anthony Weiner. Said Democrat David Weprin, who was beaten by the GOP’s Bob Turner: “I think the voters looked at it as a referendum on the president.”

A few weeks ago, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin put it this way: “How’s that hope and change working for you?”

And as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson colorfully cracked in last week’s Republican candidates’ debate: “My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”

Thus, for the ambitious Clinton, the time may be right. Lest you think talk of a primary challenge for her is hot air, remember that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) did it in 1980, taking on ineffective sitting President Jimmy Carter. And don’t forget Clinton was edged out by Obama for the nomination in 2008 only because she delayed challenging him with working-class whites. When she did, she won most of the final primaries. Additionally, a primary challenge to Obama “would be healthy for the party,” said U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).

Ex-President Bill Clinton slyly boosted his wife by criticizing Obama’s economic plans: “I think everybody is confused about whether he’s proposing all this stuff at once. I personally don’t think we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending, either one, until we get this economy off the ground. It’s a dead-flat economy.”

Of Clinton, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney said: “Perhaps she might have been easier for some of us who are critics of the president to work with. I have a sense that she is one of the more competent members of the current administration, and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president.”

Then there’s Clinton’s presidential ambitions-despite denials. Her unrequited love for the job is well-known, and continuing negative poll numbers by Obama among independents-especially on the economy-could prompt her to make the move.

Those who believe Clinton really wants to wait until 2016 to run again are kidding themselves. A Gallup Poll early this year voted her the most admired woman in the world for the ninth straight year, which certainly wasn’t lost on Clinton. By the way, Palin was second-and both beat out Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.

Remember now, Clinton demonstrated a palpable disdain for Obama when debating him in the 2008 campaign. And when Obama admitted he wasn’t a particularly organized person, she reminded him the president “is really a chief executive officer able to manage and run the bureaucracy.”

And who can forget Clinton’s biting “3 a.m.” campaign ad featuring sleeping kids, which took Obama to task for his inexperience. To wit:

“It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. There is something happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it’s someone who already knows the world leaders and knows the military. Someone who is tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. It’s 3 a.m., and your children are asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?”

So forget about the smiles, glad-handing, hugs and mutual compliments Obama and Clinton have shared during her term as secretary of state. Everyone knows he only appointed her to that position to get her out of the way and keep her from criticizing him.

With the bloom off his rose in the wake of the 2010 midterms-and unemployment currently at 9.1 percent-Obama’s “hope and change” has fallen flat. The facts don’t lie.

Bottom line: Could 2013 be the year a woman is sworn in as president?

If Clinton jumps in, she would be joining U.S. Rep Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who’s already running, and perhaps Palin, who waits in the wings. Excitement would reign supreme.