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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Hillary Rodham Clinton weighs N.Y. Senate bid

By Wolf Blitzer and John King/CNN

February 11, 1999
Web posted at: 1:47 p.m. EST (1847 GMT)

WASHINGTON (February 10) -- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking at her post-White House options. CNN has learned that Clinton is now giving very serious consideration to running for the New York Senate seat in 2000.

Several sources close to the first lady say she has made no final decision and will not until after the Senate impeachment trial of her husband.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton is a possible
candidate to succeed Daniel Patrick
Moynihan in the Senate
CNN's Wolf Blitzer looks at Hillary Clinton's possible run for the Senate
Windows Media 28K 80K

But the sources describe her as "flattered" and "intrigued" by the possibility of succeeding Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and say she has been discussing it with several close friends.

"It's now turned into a very serious possibility," says one source who has been in touch with Mrs. Clinton. "Many people are calling her, urging her to do it and assuring her she won't have a problem raising the money."

The first lady's press secretary, Marsha Berry, told CNN, "She's made no decision. She hasn't ruled anything in and she hasn't ruled anything out."

Sources confirm that Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-New Jersey), head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has been urging the first lady to run, convinced she can win the seat. "He's pummelling her," says one source who has been in direct contact with Mrs. Clinton.

Torricelli, sources say, ordered a poll in New York and it showed Mrs. Clinton could win.

The early Republican favorite for the contest is New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

According to the sources, Mrs. Clinton's thinking on the possibility of running for the Senate seat has gradually evolved over the past several weeks from simply being flattered about the notion to increasingly taking it seriously.

The sources say she knows she has 30 to 60 days to make up her mind, concerned that the longer she does not make a decision, the more difficult it will be for other potential Democratic candidates to jump into the race. "She doesn't want to hold other people down," says one source.

One source who spoke to the first lady in the past week said she was not willing to discuss the "tough choices" about the race until after the impeachment trial was over. "I don't think she is ready to make any decision," said this source, a first family intimate. "She is clearly intrigued by the possibility and flattered by the interest, but she has not walked through the difficult issues that such a campaign would mean."

This person and another source said Susan Thomases, a liberal New York lawyer and longtime friend of the first lady, was pushing the idea of the Senate campaign.

Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo decided against running for Senate. Sources close to Cuomo say he has made it clear to close allies of the first lady that "the mayor plays tough, no matter who the opponent is," and that she would have to be prepared for a grueling campaign were she to make the race.

The first family intimate predicted Mrs. Clinton would ultimately decide against the race for two reasons: "Her husband will still be president, making a campaign in 2000 very strange, and the New York media will not listen when she tries to say Chelsea should not be an issue."


Wednesday, February 10, 1999

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