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Moynihan tells friends he won't seek another term

By John King/CNN

WASHINGTON (November 6) -- New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is telling friends and close colleagues he will not seek another term in 2000, ending a career of more than 40 years in public service.

Neither Moynihan nor his aides would confirm or deny the report, but at a swearing ceremony for a federal appeals judge Friday, Moynihan told the man elected this week to New York's other Senate seat, Democratic Rep. Charles Schumer, "You'll be the senior senator from New York pretty soon."

Schumer, who defeated GOP Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, praised Moynihan as "a giant" who's "had a great career." And New York Republican Gov. George Pataki also issued a tribute in advance of any official announcement from Moynihan.

Moynihan, his wife Elizabeth and Schumer were among the dignataries at the swearing-in of new U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor at the federal courthouse in Manhattan.

One Democratic colleague who spoke to Moynihan said the four-term senator wanted to get word out early in part because of the high cost of the D'Amato-Schumer race, so that would-be candidates could begin to raise money immediately.

Some have already expressed an interest in running if the patrician from Hell's Kitchen retires, including Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo and former White House aide George Stephanopoulos. Other Democrats mentioned include Robert Kennedy Jr., the son of the assassinated former senator from New York, and Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat who represents a Westchester district.

On the Republican side, one political observer told CNN that New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani might be an early favorite to run as well as the outgoing D'Amato, who was defeated by Schumer in his bid for a fourth term Tuesday.

A spokesman for Moynihan would neither confirm nor deny the reports of his pending retirement.

"We have not said anything official about this at all. You can't say anything about rumors," the spokesman said.

In his tribute, Pataki, a close ally of both D'Amato and Giuliani, said, "Sen. Moynihan has been a true statesman and a fighter for all New Yorkers. We've had a very strong working relationship for the last four years and I am sure it will continue over the next two years as we work to make sure New York thrives in the 21st Century."

A September poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York showed Moynihan with a 57 percent job approval rating among New Yorkers.

Before his election to the Senate in 1976, he had worked in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford in a variety of capacities and before that as an aide to New York Gov. Averill Harriman.

Moynihan is also a former Harvard professor, U.S. ambassador to India and the United Nations and the author of 18 books including a recently published tome on government secrecy.


RELATED STORIES

Review: Moynihan's book 'Secrecy: The American Experience' (10-22-98)

Some boos for the new budget (10-21-98)

Clinton's Democratic support slips further (9-6-98)


RELATED SITES

Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Senate Web site


MORE STORIES:

Friday, November 6, 1998

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