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Republican contender says Clinton not serving state well

From Phil Hirschkorn and Shirley Zilberstein
CNN

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Republican lawyer Edward Cox

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Ed Cox, the son-in-law of former President Richard Nixon, says that unlike Hillary Clinton, he would be a senator "focused only on New York."

Cox spoke in Manhattan Wednesday in his first appearance before reporters since forming an exploratory committee for the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

Cox, 58, a lawyer who has never run for office, criticized the Democratic incumbent for supposedly eyeing the White House in 2008. "I believe that a senator should focus less on making headlines and more on producing results," Cox said.

"She parachuted into New York solely for the reason of running for the Senate, and now she's running for the presidency. She is more concerned about the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire than the priorities of people in New York," he said

Cox also said New York is disadvantaged because both of its senators, Clinton and Charles Schumer, are Democrats.

"I never thought I'd see the date when our clout in Washington would be so diminished as it is now," Cox said. "She [Clinton] has not been able to produce because she's not in the party in power in Washington."

Cox said he will travel across the state this summer to "engage New Yorkers in a dialogue" before making a commitment to the race.

"To be sure this will not be a listening tour. I am a New Yorker," Cox said, in a jibe to Mrs. Clinton's summer of 1999 travels across the state when she was still first lady. "In the coming months, I look forward to showing New Yorkers that they can be better served."

The press conference appeared more like a campaign rally. Cox's wife, Tricia, whom he married at the White House in 1971, and his son were there, as were a number of supporters.

Cox called the news conference to introduce advisers to his fledgling campaign, including former Nixon and Ford Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Reagan White House Chief of Staff Ken Dubertstein, and former U.S. Navy Secretary John Lehman.

He has hired a campaign manager, spokesmen, pollsters and fund raisers.

But Cox may have some competition for the Republican nomination. Westchester District Attorney Jeannine Pirro is among those considering the race.

Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said, "While the Republicans sort out their nominating process, Hillary Clinton will continue to stay focused on working for New Yorkers."

Clinton, 57, had close to $9 million cash on hand for the race at the end of March. She speaks at a fund raiser in Virginia Tuesday night.

Her campaign committee, Friends of Hillary, e-mailed supporters a fund-raising pitch from her husband asking supporters to donate before the next reporting period ends June 30.

"She has already been singled out as the Republicans' number one target for defeat next year," Bill Clinton wrote. "You and I both know why. Her courage, her clarity, her ability to connect with people scare her opponents. When 2006 is over, they want Hillary out of the Senate. It's not going to happen -- not if we join together in support of her as she fights for what we believe in."

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