Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday that New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani gets angry too easily, and suggested his temper justified the U.S. housing secretary's decision to take control of $59 million in federal grants for the homeless in that city.

Visiting a Salvation Army food distribution center in Syracuse, the first lady deflected a question about the political overtones of the grant decision, which was made Tuesday by one of her allies, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo. She turned the subject to Giuliani's temper, noting that Cuomo took his action after a federal court found that the Republican mayor had improperly blocked HUD grants to organizations that had criticized his policies.

"I can't be responding every time the mayor gets angry about something because that's all I would do," said Clinton, who is vying with Giuliani for the Senate seat up for grabs in New York next year. She said the mayor "gets angry very often," the Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, Giuliani had blasted Cuomo's decision, calling HUD a "political patronage operation." Clinton's campaign manager until recently was HUD's regional director in New York.

Yesterday, Giuliani widened the attack to include political consultant James Carville, environmental attorney Robert Kennedy Jr. and Cuomo's wife, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, all of whom have been critical of the mayor. Giuliani also cited Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, whose office is investigating former Giuliani chief of staff Bruce Teitelbaum in connection with a fatal building collapse in Brooklyn last month and whether Teitelbaum tried to aid Giuliani supporters with building inspection shortcuts.

Media Ignore TV Ad's Bush Allegations

Most news organizations have stayed away from the charges leveled against George W. Bush by a fringe presidential candidate running an ad in New Hampshire.

"George Bush had a cocaine problem. His brain suffered from alcohol abuse," says the spot by perpetual candidate Anthony "Andy" Martin of Florida.

Martin, it turns out, is a convicted felon. What's more, he's a fugitive from justice; the West Palm Beach sheriff's office issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to serve a six-month term for criminal contempt.

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said numerous reporters called about the ad running on Manchester's WMUR-TV. "I asked them to reflect on the risk the media faces in defining news downward," he said. "This shows the press does take their editorial judgment seriously, and that's heartening." Bush has declined to say whether he used illegal drugs before 1974.

A federal appeals court said Martin has "filed a substantial number of lawsuits of a vexatious, frivolous and scandalous nature" to "ventilate his contempt and hatred of persons of Jewish heritage."

Fleischer criticized Fox News Channel for running part of the ad. But Fox reporter David Shuster said the "small snippet" used was "put in the proper perspective. It was a story not so much about Andy Martin's TV ad as WMUR being in a bind and having to put this on the air."

Staff writer Howard Kurtz contributed to this report.

CAPTION: First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton packs food into bags at Salvation Army center in Syracuse, N.Y.