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  • Hillary Clinton discusses race with Sen. Moynihan
  • First lady says she'll consider running
  • President: First lady would be "terrific" senator
  • Mrs. Clinton faces a decision
  • Clinton candidacy not implausible

    On Our Site
    First lady's Feb. 17 statement

  •   Rivals Discuss a Senate Bid by First Lady

    Associated Press
    Monday, February 22, 1999; Page A3

    First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's reputation for toughness and political smarts will be put to a full test if she decides to run for a New York Senate seat, politicians from both parties said yesterday.

    Former senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.), a potential rival for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), said Republicans "are actually relishing the battle."

    New York's mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said a run by the first lady would give him an incentive to seek the Republican nomination. "Starting off from the underdog position would probably be a good thing, from my point of view," Giuliani said on CNN's "Late Edition."

    With the impeachment over and Congress not yet back in full gear, the possibility of a Clinton-Giuliani race in New York was a major topic on yesterday's television talk shows and is the cover story for Time and Newsweek this week.

    Former New York mayor Ed Koch (D) predicted that Clinton would win, but on CBS's "Face the Nation" said: "It'll be a tough fight. It won't be a win in a walk."

    Republicans differed on the outcome but agreed it would be close.

    Clinton has said she is talking to people about running and has not made up her mind. President Clinton has said his wife would make a good senator and he would support whatever decision she makes.

    Weighing against a run is New York's notoriety for expensive, no-holds-barred negative politicking. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R), like Hillary Clinton a native of Illinois, said that even as a person familiar with tough Chicago politics, "I'm not sure why anybody from Illinois wants to stick their nose in New York politics."

    Giuliani said he had no intention of attacking Hillary Clinton over her husband's impeachment, which he opposed, or accusing her of being a carpetbagger who doesn't live in New York.

    But when asked on ABC about the first lady's statements last year that she favored an independent Palestinian state, he said he agreed with the White House position that the status of Palestinian-controlled lands are to be negotiated. "Mrs. Clinton is out there much more heavily favoring the Palestinians," he said.

    One Democrat who expressed enthusiasm for Clinton's candidacy was Rep. Nita M. Lowey (N.Y.), whose decision on whether to enter the senatorial race has been put on hold because of the first lady's possible entry. "Hillary Clinton is in a very special class of her own," Lowey said on CNN and Fox.

    D'Amato, who lost his New York Senate seat last November to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), said Republicans aren't afraid of a Clinton candidacy and are "actually relishing the battle."

    Asked on Fox whether he would consider running, D'Amato said it was "very tempting." He said it would be a race that those who enjoy politics "kind of salivate over."

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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