First Lady Confirms Talks on Senate Bid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 22, 1999; Page A7
CAIRO, March 22 First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed today that she is consulting friends and advisers about a possible run for the Senate in New York, saying that is just one option she is exploring to stay involved in public life when President Clinton's second term ends.
Talking to reporters on the second day of a trip to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, Hillary Clinton said she intends to find some way to continue working on the issues she is most interested in after leaving the White House in January 2001.
Whether that means delving into electoral politics or something else remains to be seen. But the first lady indicated she is serious about exploring a run for the seat held by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), who is retiring.
"I do know that I want to continue speaking out on behalf of the issues that I've spent more than 25 years working on," Clinton said. "The form that will take I really can't predict at this time."
"I've talked to a lot of people in the last month, and I will continue that when I return home," she said of her consultations with advisers and friends.
The comments marked the first time Clinton has responded directly to questions raised by her strong showing in polls pitting her in a hypothetical Senate race against New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican.
She agreed to the rare question-and-answer session following her tour of a Cairo health center, apparently in an effort to dispense with the issue while she is traveling and turn the spotlight to the issues of religious tolerance and historic conservation that are the centerpieces of her North Africa trip.
"Right now I want to focus on the issues that are really at the base of this very important partnership and friendship between the United States and Egypt," she told the audience of reporters, doctors and hospital staff.
Touring here with her daughter Chelsea during Chelsea's spring break from Stanford University, the first lady has divided her time among Cairo's ample mix of Muslim, Christian and ancient historic sites, weaving together an effort to reach out to the Islamic world with her personal interest in historic preservation.
She is also trying to call attention to the money being invested here by the U.S. Agency for International Development in sewer and other public works projects critical to maintaining some of Cairo's most important architecture.
On Sunday, for example, she visited the Salih Talai Mosque in one of Cairo's oldest Islamic neighborhoods, an elegant, open-air building that until a few months ago was surrounded by pools of open water that threatened to erode the foundation.
That problem has been fixed, and, in conjunction with Egyptian authorities, a 700-year-old, intricately carved beechwood minbar has been restored.
The minbar is a pulpit-like platform at the top of a short staircase for the mosque's prayer leader.
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