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First Lady Ignores Scandal During Visit to N.Y. School

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The first lady appears resolute in carrying out her public schedule and defending her husband  

Mrs. Clinton tells student: "Learning how to spell is a lot easier than stopping people from hating you"

NEW YORK (AllPolitics, Jan. 26) -- Appearing focused and unruffled, Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday toured an after-school program in Harlem and avoided any discussion of the crisis rocking the White House.

In her first trip out of Washington since last week, the first lady promoted education initiatives that the president plans to discuss during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Mrs. Clinton is on a two-day visit to New York, where she was to address a UNICEF dinner later Monday and appear on morning talk shows Tuesday.

She visited the Harriet Tubman Learning Center, formerly known as Public School 154, the site of one of 66 after-school reading proficiency programs for second- through fourth-graders operated by the YMCA, the New York City Board of Education and the United Way of New York City.

"I hope that your example will serve to ignite a great reaction around this city, state and country," the first lady told a group of educators and students.

She arrived in New York hours after appearing by the side of President Bill Clinton, who vehemently denied, at a White House event on child care, allegations that he had sex with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and urged her to lie about it.

Clinton is preparing to tout his child-care plan in his State of the Union address. It would provide $21.7 billion over five years, increasing subsidies to low-income parents, encouraging businesses to provide child care and expanding the tax credit for parents who pay for child care.

On Monday, Clinton highlighted a proposal to give $200 million in grants each year to communities offering after-school activities.

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Speaking of the Clinton administration's plans for child care and after-school programs in New York, the first lady said, "We will make child care more affordable for millions of working parents."

Mrs. Clinton was visibly affected by the time she spent with one student, who was working on a composition based on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.

She said the girl told her, "I had a dream I visited my grandmother in her grave and she told me to keep my eye on wanting to be a teacher and not live in the streets."

"I had to think about that," Mrs. Clinton said. "And then about how we want to give these messages to our children."

"We can't just tell them, we have to show them. We can't just preach at them, we have to work with them," she said.

She told one child working on a "dream" composition who had misspelled a word, "Learning how to spell is a lot easier than stopping people from hating you."

Mrs. Clinton left the event in a hail of applause, either ignoring or not having heard a question about the nature of the relationship between the president and Lewinsky.

In Other News

Monday Jan. 26, 1998

Lewinsky Has Spoken
White House Crisis Spawns Media Feeding Frenzy
First Lady Ignores Scandal During Visit to N.Y. School
Business As Usual At White House, Officials Say
Lewinsky Allegations Overshadow State Of The Union<